Chairman Serrano Statement at Budget and Oversight Hearing on White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

2019-07-24 10:00

Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY), Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's budget and oversight hearing on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy:

The subcommittee shall come to order.

I would like to welcome to Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), to the subcommittee.

OSTP is the interagency science and technology policy coordinator across the Federal Government and has a vital role in advising the President with sound scientific and technological advice.

That is a tough job under this Administration.  Since January 2017, there has been a consistent effort to undermine the Federal agencies that make the United States the world leader in science and technology.  In addition, there seem to have been clear attempts to bury the unbiased research and conclusions of the the scientists who work for the Federal Government. 

Nowhere is that more prominent than in the discussion of climate change.  The Trump Administration has pursued a relentless agenda of climate change denial.  By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and attempting to bury the stunning conclusions of the Fourth National Climate Assessment this Administration has shown that it is not committed to addressing climate change. Recently, a State Department intelligence official—Rod Schoonover—spoke before the House Intelligence Committee about the security risks the U.S. faces due to climate change.  White House officials refused to allow him to submit a written statement that climate impacts could be, quote, “possibly catastrophic.”  Mr. Schoonover ended up resigning from the State Department as a result.

Tackling climate change is not about scoring political points; it is about confronting an immediate crisis that affects the future of billions of people around the world.  We have a moral responsibility to address it now.  Only those who close their eyes cannot see the urgent need to act, but those seem to be the very people you need to convince. 

Unfortunately, that is not the only scientific controversy in this Administration.  There are issues involving scientific advisory boards, staffing at your office, and moving the locations of science advisors out of Washington, DC.  All of these have an impact on the ability of our nation to remain a leader in the scientific fields.   

This subcommittee is committed to continue providing the resources necessary to build the workforce of tomorrow, create good-paying jobs at home, and advance scientific progress.  In the fiscal year 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill, we provided strong increases in funding for scientific agencies like NSF, NIST, NOAA, and NASA.

In particular, this subcommittee has been very focused on providing robust funding for STEM initiatives to ensure that young men and women of all backgrounds and geographic locations have access to a STEM education.  I have also been particularly focused on fostering greater minority participation in STEM research grant programs so that the STEM field fully reflects the great diversity of our Nation.

In addition, this Committee in a bipartisan manner has dedicated substantial resources to advancing space exploration and maintaining U.S. leadership in space.  While I support a continued human presence in space, I remain concerned about the estimated cost in excess of $20 billion over the next few years to unnecessarily speed up by just four years the schedule for returning American astronauts to the Moon.  Arbitrarily changing this schedule will have grave consequences for other vital programs across the science fields and other programs across the government.

Thank you once again, Director Droegemeier, for joining us today, and I look forward to hearing your testimony.

Now, I would like to recognize at this time my good friend, Mr. Aderholt, for any opening remarks that he may have.


116th Congress