Capitol Connection

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  • August 4, 2015

    There once was an independent bicameral agency of the U.S. Congress that supplied expert analysis of legislation affecting, and affected by, science and technology. This think tank was known as the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). It responded to requests by committees, not individual members of Congress, and its 12-person board comprised of six from each house, spread across the ideological spectrum (Hatch to Kennedy), and operated in a most nonpartisan way. »

  • May 4, 2015
    As a child, U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) lost her sister Virginia to pneumonia. Deeply affected by this loss, she chose to pursue degrees in microbiology and public health. Since 1999, Slaughter has put her knowledge in these fields to work in efforts to pass legislation designed to curb a frightening increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. With public sentiment shifting on this topic, does she finally have a shot?
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  • April 17, 2015

    How much of your freedom to communicate do you give up when you take a scientific job with the federal government? Do you need your employer’s permission to tweet? What about to speak with the press or post on Facebook? »

  • March 27, 2015

    With one month to go until the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch, its successor—the James Webb Space Telescope—was the topic of a March 24 hearing of the House Subcommittee on Space. The new telescope is scheduled to begin operation in 2018 and “holds the promise of producing revolutionary science that one day may rewrite textbooks,” according to Subcommittee Chair Steven Palazzo (R-MS). »

  • February 24, 2015

    Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently proposed a "swear jar" system that will fine large drug companies for breaking laws and give this money to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Could this so-called Medical Innovation Act help solve the NIH’s funding woes? »