The results of the 2018 midterm elections do not represent victories for science policy in all areas, but the House of Representatives' excavation has interesting implications: For the first time since 2010, a Democrat will chair the Parliamentary Committee on Science, and Technology – a group that has recently been known to promote manifestly erroneous "scientific" information. Let's see what the turn can mean for you:
What is the Scientific Committee of the House?
The Parliamentary Committee on Science, Space and Technology has legal oversight in research and development of federal and civilian sciences in areas such as energy, space, the environment and ocean science. This includes partial or full legal jurisdiction over federal scientific offices such as the National Science Foundation, NASA and the National Weather Service.
Who is currently in charge of the committee?
The Republicans have checked the House of Representatives and hence the House of Commons Committee since 2010. Today's president, Lamar Smith (R-TX), has assumed office as president in 2013. Smith has earned his reputation over the past five years to undermine the peer review process in NSF, to deny climate science and to use its power to challenge individual scientists.
Scientists insist that Smith's sovereignty in the College of Sciences Committee has been an "uninterrupted attack" on scientific integrity, according to Science. And for the past eight years, many have faltered that the commission has become an animosity of itself, the one that aspires to hair theories and spends a long time and resources that support the widely accepted scientific consensus on climate change. But after mid-2018, all of this could change.
What will happen after mid-2018?
The Democrats won the majority in the House, so now they will gain control of the House of Commons. Lamar Smith has already announced his retirement after this year, but now his headquarters will go to a Democrat instead of a Democratic partner. As a minority group, the Democrats had limited power, although last year they tried to advise President Truum on how to obtain and evaluate scientific information. The committee will elect a new presidency from the majority party when the 116th Congress meets early next year.
Who could be the new leader of the committee?
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) has already dropped her hat on the ring for the presidency. When he was elected to the committee in 2010, Johnson, who also greets Texas, was the first African-American in the committee and the first woman to become a ranking member on the HSC. A former psychiatric nurse, Johnson would have been the first STEM family science committee chair since the 1990s, according to Sara Kaplan from Washington Post.
What does the change of leadership for HSC mean?
In a brief statement Tuesday night, Johnson said that under her guidance the committee will take action to mitigate climate change, starting from "recognizing it is real" and seeking a better understanding of science.
Johnson also stated that it intends to prioritize STEM innovation, invest in STEM training and approach and "protect the scientific enterprise from political and ideological attacks". Finally, Johnson also said he would try to "restore" the reputation of the committee. .. as a place where science is respected and recognized as a vital contribution to good policy-making. "