Those watching Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross testify before the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies on the president’s budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 may at times have been able to anticipate his answers. As the secretary fielded questions from worried Democrats regarding agencies and programs the White House proposed to eliminate or to drastically cut, his responses remained consistent. Whether answering queries about the elimination of the Sea Grant Program, the Minority Business Development Agency, or the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program, Secretary Ross was unwavering in his answer that tradeoffs had to be made to fund the administration’s priorities, “and with the big increases in defense and military and national security, cuts have to be made somewhere.”
Category: Policy News
President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2018 Released — With Deep Cuts To Ocean And Geoscience Programs
As the clock struck 11 on Capitol Hill yesterday morning, thousands of people hit “refresh” on their computers, eagerly waiting for the first glimpse of A New Foundation For American Greatness, the president’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget Request. For those seeking federal investment in areas such as scientific research, education, environmental conservation, infrastructure, public health, law enforcement, and even aspects of national security, they were sorely disappointed.
With technological advancement occurring at ever-increasing speed, it seems surprising that a law meant to better align career and technical education (CTE) programs with students in need of new skills and employers in need of qualified workers hasn’t been updated in more than a decade. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved by voice vote a bipartisan update to this law, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R.2353). Discussion around the bill echoed that of the recent National Science Board quarterly meeting, which highlighted the shifting demographics of the STEM workforce, which includes ocean engineers and marine scientists.
Iron isn’t just good for your bones and growth – it’s good for the ocean, too. That’s what advocates of the “Rigs-to-Reefs” program, which converts decommissioned oil rigs into artificial marine habitat, claim. But what if that iron is also steeped in a toxic substance like oil waste products? In a Wednesday hearing, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources heard a variety of views on the program’s benefits to the natural ecosystem, taxpayers, and oil companies.
What do harmful algal blooms (HABs), the U.S. Coast Guard, and shark fins have in common? Last Thursday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved by voice vote bills impacting each of them.
“U.S. presence in the Arctic is necessary for more than just power projection; it’s a matter of national security,” Representative Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2) proclaimed during a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee, Homeland Security Subcommittee. If only doing were as easy as saying – even accessing the remote region requires a heavy icebreaker that can ram through at least 20 feet of ice.
How does someone without a high school diploma become a Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, responsible for one of the largest portfolios in their country’s government? It seems an unlikely scenario, but that is exactly where Minister Susi Pudjiastuti of Indonesia finds herself. Yet, she has been extraordinarily successful at re-establishing Indonesian sovereignty over their waters and has been responsible for unprecedented recovery of its fisheries.
Nearly half of U.S. college graduates spent time on community and technical college campuses. The skilled technical workforce – those outside four-year institutions who use science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in their jobs – consists of approximately 16 million individuals, and it is estimated by next year, 35 percent of the STEM workforce will have sub-baccalaureate degrees. During the quarterly meeting of the 24-member National Science Board (NSB), which establishes overall priorities for the National Science Foundation (NSF), one topic of discussion centered around a draft work plan on how the agency can reach students outside the traditional four-year college institutions to develop the shifting STEM workforce.
The 10th community workshop, “Road to Ocean Obs ’19: FOO-ward Progress,” was attended by scientists who receive funding to monitor ocean climate trends, as well as provided a venue for the government and academic community to review programmatic progress, plans, and goals for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (which includes the Ocean Observing and Monitoring Division). Speakers at the three-day event assessed requirements, identified challenges, and fostered coordination between stakeholders and observational programs, and workshop delegates assessed current data usage by stakeholders.
As science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are a part of everything we do, making a STEM-literate society critically important. Last week, the STEM Education Coalition, in conjunction with nearly a dozen other organizations and associations, held a briefing, “STEM 101: Major Policy Issues for the 115th Congress.” Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology were the congressional hosts.