Aviation

Opinion: Science That Leads
The National Science Foundation needs to get its priorities straight

The Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The U.S. is falling behind China in key science and technology areas, Smith writes. (Courtesy Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

This past summer, Chinese scientists used quantum technology to teleport a single photon from the Earth’s surface to an orbiting satellite. Although Star Trek fans will be disappointed that teleportation of human beings is a long way off, teleporting a photon into space is an amazing achievement — and an example of China’s all-out effort to dominate quantum information science and other emerging technologies.

China now has the world’s fastest supercomputer and has just passed the U.S. for the first time to lead the world in the number and total performance of supercomputers. As of this month, China has 202 supercomputers on the TOP500 ranking, its largest showing to date, compared to 143 for the U.S., an all-time low.

New Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo Won’t Seek Re-election
12-term Republican’s departure opens targeted seat

New Jersey Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo will not seek re-election in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

New Jersey Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election, a move that makes his 2nd District more competitive for 2018.

The 12-term Republican said his position as a term-limited subcommittee chairman and the disappearance of the political “middle ground” contributed to his decision.  

Word on the Hill: Republicans Tour Jordan Airport
Pingree awarded, Veterans History Project discussion, and ‘The Long Road’

New York Rep. John Katko meets refugees at Zaatri refugee camp in northern Jordan. (Courtesy House Homeland Security Committee)

A delegation led by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., over last week’s recess included a stop in Jordan. The group toured Queen Alia International Airport, the largest airport in the country, to observe aviation security procedures and employee screening.

The U.S. donated passenger screening equipment to Jordan and other countries in 2016 under the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act.

Senate Moves to Adopt House-Backed Budget Changes
Amendment negates need to go to conference to iron out differences

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi’s amendment modified the House-passed budget resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate on Thursday night agreed, 52-48, to an amendment by Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi that modified the House-passed budget resolution, jettisoning reconciliation instructions aimed at getting $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts. 

Instead, the Wyoming Republican’s amendment replaces the House directive for a deficit-neutral tax cut with one that could add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, similar to the Senate’s.

Contrary to Rhetoric, Military Mishaps Have Been Declining
The Pentagon’s deadly accident-filled summer bucked a larger trend

The destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a chemical tanker in August, one of several deadly military accidents this year. Such incidents are on the decline, according to a Roll Call analysis. (Courtesy U.S. Navy)

Hawks in Congress have said military mishaps are up because the defense budget is down, but the data says otherwise.

The summer of 2017 saw a rash of fatal military accidents — ships colliding at sea, planes crashing and vehicles catching fire — that were deadlier than attacks from America’s enemies.

Scalise Gets Emotional Welcome Back to the House
Thanks colleagues for their ‘outpouring of love, of warmth, of prayer’

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., walks with his wife Jennifer from the House chamber to his office in the Capitol on his first day back in Congress on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise returned to the Capitol Thursday to a standing ovation from his colleagues as he walked out on the House floor on crutches to deliver an emotional speech announcing his plans to officially return to work. 

“You have no idea how great this feels to be back here at work in the people’s house,” the Louisiana Republican said.

Democrats May Sink FAA Extension, Hurricane Tax Relief Package
Minority support needed to pass measure under fast track procedure

Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., oppose a GOP package to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration for six months and provide tax relief for hurricane victims. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Legislation that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration for six months and provide tax relief to victims of recent hurricanes could fail on the House floor Monday evening amid Democratic opposition. 

The minority party’s support is needed to pass the measure under a fast-track procedure known as suspension of the rules. Two-thirds support is required for passage on the suspension calendar, meaning at least 50 Democrats would need to vote “yes” if all 240 Republicans support the legislation. 

Candidates to Rally Supporters Ahead of Alabama Senate Race
Each campaign will host a rally ahead Tuesday's election

Vice President Mike Pence will head to Alabama on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Both Republican candidates in the Alabama Senate race are bringing in heavy hitters to rally their supporters on the eve of the GOP runoff.

Republican voters head to the polls Tuesday to choose between former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to the seat after former Sen. Jeff Sessions became attorney general. Both candidates will hold rallies on the eve of the election, highlighting outside forces that are backing their campaigns.

CHIP, FAA Face Deadlines This Week
Even with typical drama absent, funding cliffs still loom

South Dakota Sen. John Thune chairs the Commerce Committee, which approved an FAA authorization bill earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is spared the usual end-of-the-fiscal-year drama this month, with normal fights over government spending punted until December, but lawmakers still face several deadlines before the Sept. 30 cutoff for fiscal 2017.

With the Republicans’ last-gasp effort to undo the 2010 health care law fizzling, Congress may now try to pass short-term extensions to avoid running aground on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Federal Aviation Administration and community health centers, authorizations for which expire at the end of the month. 

Safety Experts: Some F-35 Ejections Pose ‘Serious’ Death Risk
Degree of risk is at issue in Pentagon

A pilot sits in the cockpit of an F-35 fighter jet preparing for a March training mission at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah. Safety officials disagree about the risk if pilots use the plane’s ejection seats. (George Frey/Getty Images File Photo)

The F-35 fighter jets’ flawed ejection seats, which Air Force officials said in May had been fixed, still pose a “serious” risk that will probably injure or kill nearly two dozen pilots, according to an internal Air Force safety report that service officials withheld from the press.

The F-35 Joint Program Office — which runs the $406.5 billion initiative, the most expensive weapons program in history — has declined to try to save those lives by conducting less than a year’s worth of additional testing that would cost a relatively paltry few million dollars, the report shows.