Washington, DC – Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson today released the following statement after being elected, by unanimous consent, chairwoman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, becoming the committee’s first African-American and female chair:
“It is a great honor to be selected by my Democratic colleagues to serve as the Chairwoman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
“I look forward to leading the Committee as we pursue a constructive legislative agenda that advances our nation’s research, development, and innovation enterprise and conducting oversight that will explore emerging science and technology issues and the impacts of the Administration’s science policies on the public and the nation as a whole. We must ensure that our tax dollars are being used effectively, the use of science by our agencies is being protected, and our public health and the environment are not being endangered.
“In my 26 years on this Committee, I have seen some of the best examples of what happens when we come together as lawmakers to work towards solutions. There is much work to be done. I hope that every Member appointed to this Committee will join with me to find solutions for the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
All eyes on top Democrat to bring science back to science committee
BY MIRANDA GREEN - 11/07/18 04:05 PM EST - The Hill .com
Environmentalists are hoping that Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) will bring science back to the House science committee when she takes over as chair in the next Congress.
Johnson, if elected chair, will be the first woman with a degree in a STEM field to hold the position since 1990. She was the first registered nurse elected to Congress when she won her first term in 1993, and she’s served as ranking member on House Science, Space and Technology Committee since 2011.
The Democrat will represent a significant shift from the previous chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
Smith introduced controversial bills including the Secret Science Reform Act and worked in tandem with the Trump administration to introduce heavily criticized policies on science transparency to the Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department.
Smith's legislation failed to make it past the House. Both the bill and the agency rules aimed to make it so scientific studies, of which's data was not made public, were banned from being used to draft new regulations. Scientists argued the idea would be extremely limiting to the number of scientific studies that could be used, since the data in most public health studies is confidential.
“I think it will be quite dramatic,” Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said of the power shift.
“She wants to restore the focus of the science committee and the real culture of the committee is working in a bipartisan fashion. These things aren't inherently partisan unless someone like Lamar Smith makes them so.”
Johnson released a statement Tuesday night promising to restore “the credibility of the Science Committee as a place where science is respected and recognized as a crucial input to good policymaking.”
“I know that there is much that we can accomplish as Democrats and Republicans working together for the good of the nation,” Johnson said.
Johnson has previously focused on efforts to expand science education competitiveness.
She’s introduced versions of the STEM Opportunities Act in the past four Congresses and helped pass the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act which pushes additional research for cybersecurity and cryptography.