science

3 Takeaways From the Pence ‘Space Force’ Sales Pitch
Vice president ignores white elephant: a skeptical military and Congress

Space Force was on the mind of Vice President Mike Pence, seen here in the Rotunda last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s a new applause line in President Donald Trump’s campaign spiel.

It’s not quite up there with “Crooked Hillary” or demanding professional football players who kneel for the National Anthem to “get the hell out of here.” Crowds react with loud cheers when the president touts his envisioned “Space Force.”

As Trump Looks to Outer Space, Senate Dems Put In a Word for Earth
They were there to hear about NASA’s ‘search for life,’ but Democrats wanted to talk about climate change

Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee Chairman Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and ranking member Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., revealed differing visions for NASA’s science mission at a Wednesday hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump may be known for flip-flopping on issues, but he hasn’t backed away from his lofty goals in outer space. His push for a military “space force” and boots on the Red Planet has some in Congress trying to bring him back to Earth.

As senators heard Wednesday about NASA’s “search for life” in the galaxy, some Democrats wanted to talk about climate change.

Trump Tells Sessions to End Mueller’s Russia Investigation
Members of both parties have said that would be a bad idea

Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in February 2011. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut down the Justice Department’s special counsel investigation of Russia election meddling and possible presidential obstruction of justice.

Members of both political parties have cautioned Trump to avoid such public statements, and to resist the urge to simply give Sessions an order to end former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller’s probe — or fire him and any other senior Justice Department official who refuses to and replace them with someone who will shutter the investigation.

Durbin Back on the Warpath Against E-Cigarette ‘Candy-Flavored Poisons’
Introducing new legislation to make e-cig manufacturers show benefits

Sen. Richard J. Durbin has new legislation designed to curtail flavored e-cigs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin has launched a new offensive against a familiar foe: electronic cigarettes.

For years, the Illinois Democrat has been alarmed by the use of e-cigs by young adults — and flavorings that seem designed to appeal to kids, like gummy bear.

Bipartisan Group Wants Labs to Disclose Where Research Animals End Up
Federal agencies asked for info on adoptions and retirements for dogs, cats and primates that survive experiments

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending a letter to federal agencies about testing on dogs, cats and primates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Update 10:12 a.m. | A bipartisan group of lawmakers urged federal agencies and research labs to release information on what it does with cats, dogs and primates that survive experiments.

The letter first obtained by Roll Call was sent to the Department of Interior, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense.

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

President Donald Trump receives a flight jacket from NASA officials during a bill signing ceremony last year. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.

Q&A: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
‘What we don’t know about the moon is critical’ and could change ‘the balance of power on Earth’

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is interviewed for the “CQ on Congress” podcast on June 28. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate confirmed Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA in April after months of delay related to Democrats’ concerns about his commitment to the agency’s climate research and Republican infighting over its resources.

During two terms in the House, and the start of a third, Bridenstine was a space enthusiast. He served on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and drafted an ambitious bill to overhaul the way the government manages its space resources.

Trump Taps Senate’s Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms for NASA Post
Morhard to be nominated to be deputy administrator of the space agency

Deputy Senate Sergeant at Arms James W. Morhard is interviewed by Roll Call in the Capitol, January 9, 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The deputy sergeant-at-arms of the Senate has been picked by President Donald Trump to be the deputy administrator of NASA.

James W. Morhard, who has been deputy SAA since Republicans took over the Senate majority in 2015, has largely focused on the various administrative functions of the Senate.

Opinion: Higher Education in America Finds Itself on a Slippery Slope
Our great research universities risk getting left behind

As support for our educational system becomes increasingly politicized, a significant number of people are now questioning the very worth of a higher education, Augustine writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

A decade ago I chaired a committee that was established on a bipartisan basis by members of the House and Senate to assess America’s future economic competitiveness. The committee’s 20 members included CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, former presidential appointees, presidents of major public and private universities and three Nobel laureates. Upon completion of our work, two of our members joined the then-president’s Cabinet, one as secretary of Energy and the other as secretary of Defense.

The document we produced, which became known as the “Gathering Storm Report,” concluded that the top two priorities for America to remain competitive in the global marketplace were to strengthen education and to double our investment in basic research.

U.S. May Fall Behind on Space Research, Lawmakers Warn
Experts warn of potential problems with privatizing International Space Station

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, speaks as Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., listens during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee hearing on “Examining the Future of the International Space Station: Stakeholder Perspectives” on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Already in the midst of a trade war with China, some lawmakers worry that the United States may lose to the country in another realm — space innovation.

A Space, Science and Competitiveness Subcommittee hearing this week  focused on the possible implications of turning the United States’ stake in the International Space Station over to private industry.