House SS&T Committee Gets Set for 116th Congress

House SS&T Committee Gets Set for 116th Congress

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold its organizational meeting for the 116th Congress next week.  The committee’s jurisdiction includes NASA, NOAA, and commercial space offices at the FAA and Department of Commerce.  Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) is the new chairwoman of the full committee and a newly-elected Representative from Oklahoma will chair the Space and Aeronautics subcommittee.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas)

Johnson is a long-standing member of the committee and was the top Democrat while Republicans controlled the House.  With Democrats regaining control for the 116th Congress, she is now the chairwoman.

She recently announced the Democratic membership and chairs of the five subcommittees:

  • Energy:  Chairman, Conor Lamb (D-PA)
  • Environment: Chair, Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX)
  • Investigations and Oversight: Chairwoman, Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ)
  • Research and Technology: Chairwoman, Haley Stevens (D-MI)
  • Space and Aeronautics: Chair, Kendra Horn (D-OK)

It is notable that all the Democratic committee and subcommittee leaders are women with the exception of Lamb.

Most space activities are within the jurisdiction of the Space and Aeronautics subcommittee, although NOAA’s satellite programs are part of the Environment subcommittee.

Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Oklahoma)

Horn is well versed in space issues.  She was director of government relations and communications for the Space Foundation, a non-profit space advocacy organization based in Colorado.  After the announcement that she will chair the subcommittee, she said:  “The influential role the aerospace industry maintains in Oklahoma, coupled with my professional background in the space industry, positions me to be a positive and impactful voice for our state on the important issues of space and aeronautics.”

Other Democratic members of the subcommittee are:

  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
  • Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA)
  • Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
  • Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)
  • Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)
  • Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA)
  • Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA)

Bera, who was the top Democrat on the subcommittee in the last Congress will be vice-chairman of the full committee this time.

Oklahoma will be well represented on the committee and the Trump Administration.  Rep. Frank Lucas, now the top Republican on House SS&T, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine are also from that state.

Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas)

Fletcher defeated John Culberson to represent part of the Houston area.  Culberson chaired the powerful Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations subcommittee and is well known for his enthusiasm for planetary exploration, especially of Jupiter’s moon Europa.  Fletcher’s views on space are not well known, but during the campaign some of her supporters criticized Culberson for caring more about the oceans on Europa than water issues in Houston.

Other members of the subcommittee are:

  • Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
  • Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA)
  • Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)
  • Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)
  • Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL)
  • Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT)
  • Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

In accepting the position, Fletcher said: “I am honored to be elected to serve as Chair of the Subcommittee on Environment. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Committee as we examine and support the science relating to some of the most pressing challenges we face as Americans.”


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