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US news roundup: 23-29 April


This week: Sexual harassment, boosting the NSF and new climate commitments

In depth: US president Joe Biden has nominated researchers for top science positions in his administration, acting on his agenda to restore scientific integrity to government, although questions have been raised over the removal of a top expert from a climate leadership role.

Full story: Biden appoints researchers to key administration posts

Here is the rest of the US news this week…

Sexual harassment in science

Bipartisan legislation for combatting sexual harassment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has been tabled by members of the House science committee. The bill would support research on the causes and consequences of sexual harassment, and require action from government agencies to ensure those found guilty of harassment do not receive funding. Committee chair Eddie Bernice Johnson said harassment “undermines career advancement for women in critical Stem fields”.

NSF-boosting bill tabled

The leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, has reintroduced legislation that would authorise $100 billion for the National Science Foundation up to 2026 and the establishment of a technology directorate at the funder. Initially introduced in the previous Congress, the Endless Frontiers Act is a bipartisan push to advance US technological leadership in the face of competition from China, which president Joe Biden has supported in his policy agenda. The bill, welcomed by university sector leaders, would also provide $10bn for establishing regional technology hubs.

Democrats welcome Biden’s climate commitment

Democratic lawmakers have welcomed president Joe Biden’s commitments to cut US carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2030. Alongside praise from the Democratic leaders of the House science committee and Senate environment committee, the chair of the House energy committee Frank Pallone said it is “proof that he [Biden] listens to the science”. But the leading Republican on the House energy committee, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, said the move “could severely hamper our global competitive edge to the benefit of the Chinese Communist Party”.