The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2017, passed both chambers last week and now awaits President Obama's signature. (Credit: Greg Bishop/Flickr)

House Defense Budget For Fiscal Year 2017 Released

In the flurry of activity surrounding the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget, it might be easy to forget that the FY 2017 appropriations have yet to be finalized. In October and then again in December, Congress went down to the wire in passing short-term continuing resolutions (CR), the latter of which funds the government through April 28 (PL 114-254). Appropriating committees are picking up where they left off last year, with the House Appropriations Committee last week introducing their newest version of the Department of Defense Appropriators Act, 2017 (H.R. 1301).

A number of new bills introduced in this Congress were of relevance to the ocean science community. One relates to ocean acification research.(Credit: NOAA)

New Congress Means New Legislation

In a scene more appropriate for a college laboratory than the Capitol building (lab safety protocols aside), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) measured pH on the Senate floor during an ocean acidification demonstration. The act...

The House Agriculture Committee passed a bill that deregulates pesticides near waterways. (Credit: Shannon Bond/USEPA/Flickr)

Pest Regulations

It’s likely that the downstream impact of chemicals is not the first thing on a farmer’s mind while battling dangerous pests. But the fact remains that chemicals applied on land do work their way into our nation’s waterways. The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture approved two bills including one that would simplify the approval and application of pesticides.

Stakeholders from the transportation sector advise the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Securityon future transportation plans. (Credit: Alfvan Beem/Wikimedia commons)

Fair Share Wanted For Transportation Spending

Like a hungry group eyeing a delicious pie, stakeholders in the transportation sector are anticipating big moves from Congress and the administration, and they all want their fair share. To this end, the 115th Congress has had a busy start with several hearings focused on modernizing our country’s infrastructure.

The future of NASA will focus on space exploration, while climate and Earth science programs are uncertain. (Credit: Grevera / Wikimedia Commons)

We Choose To Go To The Moon

This week, students and coders in 20 cities across the country voluntarily gathered to collect and back up copies of federal climate data, while on Capitol Hill, lawmakers discussed the future of the Earth Science Mission at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The mission monitors more than a dozen earth science satellites that provide data on the ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere and account for about $2 billion of NASA’s $20 billion budget.

Inspectors general provide recommendations to help agencies regulate smarter. (Credit: NASA)

Listening to the Watchdogs

What good is a watchdog if you ignore its barking? Wouldn’t it be great if Fido not only warned you of trouble as it was happening but gave you a heads up about a problem coming down the road? The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing to receive recommendations from their watchdogs – inspectors general – on how federal agencies can, as Chairman John Thune put it, “regulate smarter – protecting public safety and market fairness while fostering economic grown and innovation.”

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee agrees infrastructure Improvements are Necessary, Looks for funding. (Credit: NOAA)

Infrastructure, A Rare Topic Of Bipartisanship

“When the word ‘infrastructure’ comes up, most people think of steel and concrete, bridges and ports,” began the testimony of Mr. Anthony Pratt (President, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association) to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He continued, “But I`m here to talk about water and coastal infrastructure that is just as critical to the American economy and creates (and protects) just as many jobs, but does so with sand and sediment, roots and grass.”