A science-loving woman could lead the next scientific committee of the House


The results of the mid-term elections of 2018 are by no means a victory for science policy, but the overthrow of the House of Representatives has intriguing implications: For the first time since 2010, a Democrat will chair the Science Committee , from the space of the House of Representatives. and Technology – a group recently known to have promoted totally incorrect "scientific" information. Here's what this change could mean for you:

What is the scientific committee of the house?

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology exercises statutory control over federal and non-military scientific research and development in areas such as energy, space This includes partial or full legal jurisdiction over federal scientific agencies such as the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Weather Service.

Who currently controls the committee?

Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives and, as a result, the House of Representatives Scientific Committee since 2010. The current President, Lamar Smith (R-TX), was appointed Chair in 2013. In the last five years Smith has earned a reputation for undermining the peer review process at the NSF, denying climate science and using his power of summons to attack individual scientists.

Scientists insist that Smith's reign on the home's scientific committee was a "relentless attack" against scientific integrity, according to Science. And over the past eight years, many have lamented that the committee has become a travesty of itself, a theory that disrupts theories that are out of order and devotes considerable time and resources to fighting the widely accepted scientific consensus on climate change. . But after 2018, all this could change.

What will happen after the 2018 midterms?

Democrats got a majority in the House. They will also take control of the scientific committee of the House. Lamar Smith had already announced his retirement after this year, but his seat will now go to a Democrat rather than to another Republican. As a minority group, Democrats have limited power, although last year they tried to advise President Trump on how to receive and evaluate scientific information. The committee will elect a new chairman of the majority party when the 116th Congress will meet early next year.

Who could be the new committee leader?

Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) has already thrown his hat in the ring for the presidency. In her 2010 election to the committee, Johnson, also from Texas, was the first African-American woman on the committee and the first woman to join the HSC. A former psychiatric nurse, Johnson would be the first chair of the House Science Committee with STEM training since the 1990s, according to Sarah Kaplan of Washington Post.

What does the change of leadership mean for CSS?

In a brief statement Tuesday night, Johnson said under his leadership, the committee would take action to mitigate climate change, beginning with "recognizing that it is the reality" and seeking to better understand science.

Johnson also announced plans to prioritize innovation in the fields of STEM, invest in STEM education and awareness and "protect the scientific enterprise against political and ideological attacks ". Finally, she also stated that she would strive to "restore" the reputation of the committee "… as a place where science is respected and recognized as an essential contribution to good policy development. "