Congressional Science Committees Take Shape

Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK) will chair the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in the 118th Congress. He had served as the Ranking Member since 2019, and prior to that was Vice Chairman. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) will step into the role of Ranking Member, replacing Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) who retired at the end of the last session (see the Coalition for National Science Funding reception honoring her legacy here).

Rep. Lucas announced some of the priorities of the committee: 

 “We’ll be working to ensure a competitive edge over China, strengthen critical industries of the future, preserve American leadership in space, and improve efficiency and accountability at the agencies under our jurisdiction.”

Additional priorities include key strategic areas such as CHIPS and Science Act implementation, supply chain for advanced American technologies, leadership in space and aeronautics, clean and affordable energy, research security, and adapting to a changing climate. Lucas also has announced three other areas of priorities that are Air mobility and Drone Act, Reauthorization of National Quantum, and Computing Resources to Weather, Agriculture and Forecasting.  

The House Republican Steering Committee named 15 members. Returning Representatives include Bill Posey (R-FL), Randy Weber (R-TX), Brian Babin (R-TX), Jim Baird (R- IN), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Mike Garcia (R-CA), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), and Jay Obernolte (R-CA). New additions to the committee include seven freshman Representatives: Dale Strong (R-AL), Max Miller (R-OH), Rich McCormick (R-GA), Mike Collins (R-GA), Brandon Williams (R-NY), Tom Kean (R-NJ), and George Santos (R-NY). Science advocates have raised concerns about the qualifications of Representative Santos, who has admitted to fabricating much of his prior experience. Advocates have also wondered if placing so many freshmen members on the Science Committee is an indication that science is not a priority for this House leadership.   

Democrats are expected to announce their members within the week. The current roster leaves only six vacancies. 

The House Science Committee has seen historical bipartisan collaboration in previous sessions between Rep. Johnson and Rep. Lucas. The committee and its staff have stated a continued commitment to partnership on both sides of the aisle. 

The Senate returns from recess this week and will join the House in filling out the rosters of its committees. On the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is taking over as the top Republican from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).

congress, House of Representatives, NSF, Senate