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«Will Hurd (TX-23) Research Report The following report contains research on Will Hurd, a Republican member of Congress in Texas’ 23rd district. ...»

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“The White House’s Office of Management and Budget warned Monday evening that it would advise President Barack Obama to veto the bill, called the COMPETE Re-authorization Act. OMB praised the investments research and technology but panned cuts to programs focused on energy grid modernization and alternative fuels. … COMPETES focuses on the Department of Energy and the National Science Fund, giving each more than $200 million in general research funding increases. But this comes with serious strings attached. Researchers and the White House claim the bill’s cuts to alternative energy research hampers growth in a critical field, and the bill bars the Energy Department from setting recommendations for the Environmental Protection Agency based on its own research.” [Dallas Morning News, 5/20/15] Bill Eliminated Six Department Of Energy Programs. “The bill would also eliminate six Department of Energy programs that Alexander’s office said were never fully implemented and reform five others.” [The Hill, 5/20/15] Bill Sponsor: Legislation Cuts Funding For “Social And Behavioral Science, Redundant Climate Research, And Subsidies For Private Companies.” “The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015, legislation I introduced that the House will consider this week, sets priorities aimed at stimulating economic competitiveness and growth. Our bill increases funding for the physical sciences and biology, from which come most of the scientific breakthroughs with the potential to stimulate new industries and jobs. Funding is cut for lower priority areas, including social and behavioral science, redundant climate research, and subsidies for private companies.” [The Hill, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) Op-Ed, 5/18/15] Bill Prevents Department Of Energy From Conducting New Climate Change Research, Must Prove That The Research Would Be Unique Before Approval. “Scalise said that Republicans intend to end funding on ‘programs that don’t meet the national interests’ with legislation, passed Wednesday 217-205, that would focus federal research in biology, chemistry, math and computer science. But Democrats, who didn’t provide a single vote for the bill, said that while there may be a few questionable research projects funded by the federal government, the Republican-drafted bill makes deep cuts in vital scientific research and seems intended to block research into climate change.

The bill bars the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and Technology from approving new climate change science research ‘without making a determination that such work is unique and not duplicative of work by other agencies.’ Avoiding duplication makes sense, particularly at a time of large deficits and significant other funding priorities, said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.” [TimesPicayune, 5/20/15] Bill Cut Funding For The National Science Foundation By 45% And Decreased Geoscience Funding By 12%. “Known as the America COMPETES Act, the sweeping measure sets priorities for research programmes at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It has drawn sharp criticism from science organizations, which say that the plan would limit the agencies’ ability to fund the most promising research, and from the White House. Some of the most controversial provisions apply to the NSF. The bill suggests slashing funds for the agency’s social, behavioural and economic-sciences directorate from US$272.2 million in fiscal year 2015 to $150 million a year in 2016 and 2017 — a 45% cut. And it calls for a 12% decrease in geoscience funding, to $1.2 billion annually.” [Nature, 5/21/15] Voted Against Amendment To Restore Funding For Energy And Climate Change Research Voted Against Amendment To Restore Funding For Energy And Climate Change Research. In May 2015, Hurd voted against an amendment that would have restored funding levels for scientific research.

The amendment would have provided for “sustained growth and sensible policies across the scientific agencies, in keeping with the goals of the original Competes legislation.” “A bill opponent, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, criticized its flat funding of research and development, politicization of the scientific grant-making process, and decreased funding of the ARPA-E program for breakthrough energy research.” The motion failed 179 to 239. [HR 1806, Vote #257; On Agreeing to the Amendment, 5/20/15;

Albany Herald, 5/23/15] Amendment Sponsor LTE: Bill Made “Ideologically Driven Cuts” To Clean Energy And Climate Change Research. “The chairman, however, is wrong about the way in which research should be prioritized. Politicians should not make ideologically driven cuts to particular areas of investigation with which they disagree, such as clean energy, climate research or the social sciences.

Instead, research priorities should be set through the constantly evolving deliberation and debates within the scientific community and at the individual grant level about the areas that need further investigation. It is the National Science Foundation’s well-proven, scientific merit-review process, in which trained experts select the highest quality proposals across all fields of science and engineering, that ought to guide how we invest. Politicians, most of whom do not possess the same scientific or technical expertise, are ill-equipped to predict where the next breakthroughs are most likely to occur.





Substituting our judgment for that of scientists would likely result more in missed opportunities than in new advances for American science and innovation.” [The Hill, Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) Letter to Editor, 5/26/15] Voted Against Amendment Allowing Energy Department To Verify Scientific Results With Additional Study Voted Against Amendment Allowing Energy Department To Verify Scientific Results With Additional Study. In May 2015, Hurd voted against an amendment to the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act that would have allowed the Department of Energy to verify scientific results in climate research through additional research by striking provisions from the bill, which blocked duplicative projects in climate change research. “The amendment would have struck from the bill provisions placing added reporting requirements on research funded by the Energy Department and eliminating duplicative projects in climate change research. Lowenthal said duplicative research projects were necessary to reproduce and verify previously published science, but the bill provisions would block such research, and also curtail the Energy Department’s ability to choose to fund projects based on their merits.” The amendment failed 187 to 236. [HR 1806, H.Amdt. 250, Vote #254, 5/20/15; Portland Press Herald 5/24/15] Voted Against Amendment To Ban Funds For The Experimental Program To Stimulate Competitive Research Voted Against Amendment To Band Funds For The Experimental Program To Stimulate Competitive Research. In June 2015, Hurd voted against an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, that “amendment to prohibit the use of funds to fund any Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program.” The amendment failed 195-232. [HR 2578, Vote #279, 6/03/15] The EPSCoR Program Was Funded To Advance Discovery And Knowledge In Scientific Fields.

“The mission of EPSCoR is to assist the National Science Foundation in its statutory function ‘to strengthen research and education in science and engineering throughout the United States and to avoid undue concentration of such research and education.’ EPSCoR goals are: a) to provide strategic programs and opportunities for EPSCoR participants that stimulate sustainable improvements in their R&D capacity and competitiveness; b) to advance science and engineering capabilities in EPSCoR jurisdictions for discovery, innovation and overall knowledge-based prosperity.” [National Science Foundation, accessed 8/21/15] Voted For U.S. Government’s Oversight Of Internet’s Naming And Addressing System Over To The International Community Voted For U.S. Government’s Oversight Of Internet’s Naming And Addressing System Over To The International Community. In June 2015, Hurd voted for a motion to suspend the rules and pass a bill, the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act of 2015. “The DOTCOM Act would allow the U.S. government to transfer its power to oversee the Internet’s naming and addressing system — what turns www.google.com into a viewable Web page — over to the international community. While this might sound like giving the Internet to America’s rivals, Washington actually ceded those powers long ago, and it retains them in name only. Today, that managing function is performed by a nonprofit called the International Corporation for Names and Numbers, or ICANN.” The bill passed, 378 to 25. [HR 805, Vote #377, 6/23/15; Washington Post, 7/21/15]

Voted For Storm Impact Prevention, FEMA Funding

Voted For Storm Impact Prevention, FEMA Funding. In January 2015, Hurd voted for a bill “that would authorize $21 million per year from fiscal 2015-2017 for the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program. For each year, it would authorize $5.3 million for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, $9.7 million for the National Science Foundation, $4.1 million for the National Institutes for Standards and Technology and $2.3 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” The bill passed 381-39. [HR 23, Vote #10, 1/07/15; CQ Votes] Voted Against Bill Ensuring NSF Grant Funding Is Determined By NSF Merit Review Criteria Voted Against Bill Ensuring NSF Grant Funding Is Determined By NSF Merit Review Criteria. In February 2016, Hurd voted against the “Johnson, D-Texas, amendment that would provide for the bill's requirement that the National Science Foundation (NSF) determine that a grant is worthy of federal funding to be fulfilled by having met the NSF’s merit review criteria.” The amendment failed, 181 to 235.

[H.R. 3293, Amendment #1, Vote #68; CQ, 2/10/16] Voted For A Bill To Require Funding For The National Science Foundation Be Justified In Writing Or Reaffirmed Voted For A Bill To Require Funding For The National Science Foundation Be Justified In Writing Or Reaffirmed. In February 2016, Hurd voted for a bill to require funding for the national science foundation be justified in writing or reaffirmed. The bill “directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award federal funding for basic research and education in the sciences through a new research grant or cooperative agreement only if it makes an affirmative determination, justified in writing, that the grant or agreement promotes the progress of science in the United States, is worthy of federal funding, and meets certain other criteria.” The bill passed 236 to 178. [HR 3442, Vote #70, 2/10/16; On Passage, 2/10/16] Bill Required Written Justification For Each Grant Awarded To The National Science Foundation And Proof Of How The Research Could Benefit The Public And The Economy.

“Limits on NSF Grants--HR 3293, Scientific Research in the National Interest Act. The bill allows the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award grants or enter into cooperative agreements for basic research and science education only if it determines that the grant or cooperative agreement promotes the progress of science in the United States and is consistent with the NSF's mission, is worthy of federal funding and is in the national interest as specified by the bill, and a written justification detailing those determinations accompanies the public announcement of the award.

Supporters of the bill say it is needed to properly account for scarce federal research dollars and that it essentially codifies the NSF's policy requiring clear, non-technical explanations of each research grant and how the grant supports the public interest.” [Congressional Quarterly's House Action Reports, 2/05/16] Prominent Scientists Noted That Scientific Studies Do Not Always Provide Immediate Economic Value But Can Lead To Long-Term Research Developments. “On February 10th, the House passed a bill requiring the NSF to certify the usefulness of its grants; one of the possible criteria was economic. ‘I think there’s a misunderstanding between some members of congress and the research community that every grant that’s given out should have some economic potential benefit,” said Bill Andresen, associate vice president for federal relations at the University of Pennsylvania. “And that’s just not the way science works.’ Not only is some science valuable in non-economic ways, but when research does have an economic impact you can’t always know it ahead of time. Studies of eagles ended up leading to advances in contact lenses, said Andrese.

NSF director France Cordova points to NSF funding for digital libraries that helped lead to Google.” [Marketplace, 2/22/16] Seniors’ Issues

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