116th Congress Kicks Off with New Committee Assignments; Partial Government Shutdown Ends
116th Congress Kicks Off with New Committee Assignments; Partial Government Shutdown Ends

January 2019

Senators and representatives convened on January 3 to kick off the 116th Congress, with much of the conversation surrounding the partial government shutdown, which ended on January 25 after 35 days. Congress passed, and President Donald Trump signed, a continuing resolution that funds through February 15 the agencies lacking full appropriations for FY 2019. The continuing resolution provides back pay for federal employees impacted by the shutdown but does not contain the $5.8 billion for a southern border wall that President Trump sought to include.

The National Science Foundation was one of the agencies affected by the shutdown. On January 23, prior to passage of the continuing resolution, the Coalition for National Science Funding, of which AERA is a member, sent a letter calling for Congress and the Trump administration to reopen the government and complete the FY 2019 appropriations process.

“A government shutdown greatly impedes the agency’s ability to make funding decisions, suspends new and ongoing research projects and slows the development of training the next generation of scientists and engineers,” noted the letter. “If the government shutdown continues it will have a cascading effect on the nation’s security and economy, endangering years of critical investments.”

House and Senate committee assignments are underway, with additional leadership appointments announced (see the December 2018 AERA Highlights for earlier updates). Rep. José Serrano (D-NY) will be the new chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) will serve as ranking member. In addition, several new Democratic members have been named to serve on key subcommittees. GOP subcommittee members have not yet been named.

The new members of the House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee are:

  • Ed Case, D-HI
  • Charlie Crist, D-FL
  • Marcy Kaptur, D-OH
  • Brenda Lawrence, D-MI

The new members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies are:

  • Cheri Bustos, D-IL
  • Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-NJ
  • Lois Frankel, D-FL

The authorizing committees of interest to education researchers have announced their membership. The House Education and Labor Committee has its full Democratic and Republican rosters, with the following new members:

  • Josh Harder, D-CA
  • Jahana Hayes, D-CT
  • Pramila Jayapal, D-WA
  • Susie Lee, D-NV
  • Andy Levin, D-MI
  • Lucy McBath, D-GA
  • Joseph D. Morelle, D-NY
  • Ilhan Omar, D-MN
  • Kim Schrier, D-WA
  • Donna E. Shalala, D-FL
  • Haley Stevens, D-MI
  • David Trone, D-MD
  • Lauren Underwood, D-IL
  • Susan Wild, D-PA
  • Ben Cline, R-VA
  • James Comer, R-KY
  • Russ Fulcher, R-ID
  • Dusty Johnson, R-SD
  • Dan Meuser, R-PA
  • Van Taylor, R-TX
  • William Timmons, R-SC
  • Mark Walker, R-NC
  • Steve Watkins, R-KS
  • Ron Wright, R-TX









In addition to new members, the committee will have a new subcommittee on civil rights and human services.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) announced the Democratic and Republican members, respectively, of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Two additional Republicans will be named to the committee. The new committee members are:

  • Sean Casten, D-IL
  • Lizzie Fletcher, D-TX
  • Katie Hill, D-CA
  • Kendra Horn, D-OK
  • Ben McAdams, D-UT
  • Brad Sherman, D-CA
  • Mikie Sherrill, D-NJ
  • Haley Stevens, D-MI
  • Jennifer Wexton, D-VA
  • Jim Baird, R-IN
  • Anthony Gonzalez, R-OH
  • Pete Olson, R-TX
  • Michael Waltz, R-FL






Sen. Roger Wicker is now chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who has been active in advancing NSF through his co-sponsorship of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, will chair the Subcommittee on Science, Oceans, Fisheries, and Weather. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) will serve as the subcommittee ranking member. In addition, new members to the full committee include Rick Scott (R-FL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV). Rosen will also be a new member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, along with Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Mike Braun (R-IN).

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