Congressional Committees Organize, Begin Hearings

Several committee and subcommittee rosters have been announced in the recent weeks, including for committees overseeing federal funding and policy issues important to social and behavioral science research. Notable committee rosters include House and Senate Appropriations; House Science, Space, and Technology Democrats and Republicans; and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is responsible for health policy, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee have also announced their committee membership.

New committee leadership of note for social and behavioral science research funding include new House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jose Serrano (D-NY) and new Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

After officially organizing (which includes welcoming new members and approving the committee rules), committees began holding hearings and announcing their priorities for the coming year. While Senate committees have been primarily focused on vetting presidential nominees, House committees have been releasing oversight and authorization reports, which include their priorities for the 115th Congress. The Science, Space, and Technology oversight report can be found here, and the Energy and Commerce oversight report can be found here. The Science Committee oversight report in particular outlines the committee’s plans for oversight of the National Science Foundation, noting that the committee will seek to “increase support for basic research in the physical sciences,” adding that “these are the areas with the greatest potential for breakthroughs to new industries and U.S. jobs.” Social science is likely to continue to face challenges in the Science Committee this year, despite the efforts of strong champions in the minority. A webcast of the Science Committee’s first hearing of the year is available here.

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