4:47 PM EDT

Morgan Griffith, R-VA 9th

Mr. GRIFFITH. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would make a couple of slight changes to two new advisory boards created in this bill: the STEM education advisory panel and a new Department of Energy advisory committee.

My amendment sets the total number of members for these two new advisory boards at 15 each, and most importantly, it ensures that five of the members on each board are chosen by Congress, three by the Speaker of the House and two by the Senate majority leader.

The purpose of my amendment is to ensure that the advisory boards have congressional representation, that we have people on there who work with Congress. The legislative branch is a [Page: H3452]

coequal branch of government, and I believe that, as an institution, Congress should more aggressively assert itself as a coequal branch.

This amendment has nothing to do with which party controls the legislative branch of government or which party, for that matter, controls the executive branch at any given time, nor does it ask for a majority of the members of these new boards to be congressionally appointed.

The amendment would simply ensure that the legislative branch is involved in these boards that it, the legislative branch, is creating and that we are involved in the process of creating the reports which both the legislative branch and executive branch will rely on to make important decisions for these United States.

If Congress deems an issue important enough to warrant an advisory board that is included in a bill we are passing, it just makes sense that we also appoint a portion of that board's membership.

I hope we will do that as we go forward with many of our boards. I also think it will facilitate more conversation between the executive branch and the legislative branch as time goes forward.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

4:47 PM EDT

Morgan Griffith, R-VA 9th

Mr. GRIFFITH. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would make a couple of slight changes to two new advisory boards created in this bill: the STEM education advisory panel and a new Department of Energy advisory committee.

My amendment sets the total number of members for these two new advisory boards at 15 each, and most importantly, it ensures that five of the members on each board are chosen by Congress, three by the Speaker of the House and two by the Senate majority leader.

The purpose of my amendment is to ensure that the advisory boards have congressional representation, that we have people on there who work with Congress. The legislative branch is a [Page: H3452]

coequal branch of government, and I believe that, as an institution, Congress should more aggressively assert itself as a coequal branch.

This amendment has nothing to do with which party controls the legislative branch of government or which party, for that matter, controls the executive branch at any given time, nor does it ask for a majority of the members of these new boards to be congressionally appointed.

The amendment would simply ensure that the legislative branch is involved in these boards that it, the legislative branch, is creating and that we are involved in the process of creating the reports which both the legislative branch and executive branch will rely on to make important decisions for these United States.

If Congress deems an issue important enough to warrant an advisory board that is included in a bill we are passing, it just makes sense that we also appoint a portion of that board's membership.

I hope we will do that as we go forward with many of our boards. I also think it will facilitate more conversation between the executive branch and the legislative branch as time goes forward.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

4:47 PM EDT

Morgan Griffith, R-VA 9th

Mr. GRIFFITH. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would make a couple of slight changes to two new advisory boards created in this bill: the STEM education advisory panel and a new Department of Energy advisory committee.

My amendment sets the total number of members for these two new advisory boards at 15 each, and most importantly, it ensures that five of the members on each board are chosen by Congress, three by the Speaker of the House and two by the Senate majority leader.

The purpose of my amendment is to ensure that the advisory boards have congressional representation, that we have people on there who work with Congress. The legislative branch is a [Page: H3452]

coequal branch of government, and I believe that, as an institution, Congress should more aggressively assert itself as a coequal branch.

This amendment has nothing to do with which party controls the legislative branch of government or which party, for that matter, controls the executive branch at any given time, nor does it ask for a majority of the members of these new boards to be congressionally appointed.

The amendment would simply ensure that the legislative branch is involved in these boards that it, the legislative branch, is creating and that we are involved in the process of creating the reports which both the legislative branch and executive branch will rely on to make important decisions for these United States.

If Congress deems an issue important enough to warrant an advisory board that is included in a bill we are passing, it just makes sense that we also appoint a portion of that board's membership.

I hope we will do that as we go forward with many of our boards. I also think it will facilitate more conversation between the executive branch and the legislative branch as time goes forward.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

4:47 PM EDT

Morgan Griffith, R-VA 9th

Mr. GRIFFITH. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would make a couple of slight changes to two new advisory boards created in this bill: the STEM education advisory panel and a new Department of Energy advisory committee.

My amendment sets the total number of members for these two new advisory boards at 15 each, and most importantly, it ensures that five of the members on each board are chosen by Congress, three by the Speaker of the House and two by the Senate majority leader.

The purpose of my amendment is to ensure that the advisory boards have congressional representation, that we have people on there who work with Congress. The legislative branch is a [Page: H3452]

coequal branch of government, and I believe that, as an institution, Congress should more aggressively assert itself as a coequal branch.

This amendment has nothing to do with which party controls the legislative branch of government or which party, for that matter, controls the executive branch at any given time, nor does it ask for a majority of the members of these new boards to be congressionally appointed.

The amendment would simply ensure that the legislative branch is involved in these boards that it, the legislative branch, is creating and that we are involved in the process of creating the reports which both the legislative branch and executive branch will rely on to make important decisions for these United States.

If Congress deems an issue important enough to warrant an advisory board that is included in a bill we are passing, it just makes sense that we also appoint a portion of that board's membership.

I hope we will do that as we go forward with many of our boards. I also think it will facilitate more conversation between the executive branch and the legislative branch as time goes forward.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

4:49 PM EDT

Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-TX 30th

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This amendment allows the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the majority leader of the Senate to appoint members to two scientific advisory boards created in the bill. This amendment is the very definition of politicalizing science when we have politicians choosing who sits on scientific advisory boards.

While my colleagues across the aisle suggest that this amendment ensures accountability, in reality, it only ensures the political meddling in science. Unfortunately, this is consistent with many provisions in the underlying bill.

Scientific advisory boards provide expert scientific advice and make recommendations on subject matter from STEM education to energy research and development. It is essential that advisory board members be qualified and nonpolitical to provide nonpartisan advice and give appropriate recommendations that are free of bias, advice and recommendations based on the best available evidence, and advice and recommendations that will further science in the country, not inhibit it.

In this amendment, the Speaker of the House would appoint three members, while the majority leader of the Senate would appoint two additional members to this advisory board.

Some of these advisory boards have only 15 members. This amendment would allow Republican--and only Republican--leaders of Congress to appoint one-third of these members.

This amendment is clearly meant to politicize these advisory boards. While the sponsor of this amendment is messaging it as giving Congress a bigger voice, that is just not accurate, asked for, or necessary. Congress already has the biggest and final voice. We control the Federal budget. Congress writes authorization bills such as the one before us today. We do not lack influence.

Let's keep our scientific advisory boards free from political interference. If we choose to ignore the advice from our scientific advisory boards, as we are doing with H.R. 1806, that is our right. Congress doesn't also have to put its fingerprints directly on the advice itself. We know by what has been said today that we are trying to take over the responsibility on this bill that I am against, so that is one way you can do it.

This amendment follows the underlying attack on science in this bill, but this amendment goes further. It gives Republican politicians a chance to directly influence the scientific process in our country.

I urge my colleagues to reject this amendment and the underlying bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

4:49 PM EDT

Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-TX 30th

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This amendment allows the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the majority leader of the Senate to appoint members to two scientific advisory boards created in the bill. This amendment is the very definition of politicalizing science when we have politicians choosing who sits on scientific advisory boards.

While my colleagues across the aisle suggest that this amendment ensures accountability, in reality, it only ensures the political meddling in science. Unfortunately, this is consistent with many provisions in the underlying bill.

Scientific advisory boards provide expert scientific advice and make recommendations on subject matter from STEM education to energy research and development. It is essential that advisory board members be qualified and nonpolitical to provide nonpartisan advice and give appropriate recommendations that are free of bias, advice and recommendations based on the best available evidence, and advice and recommendations that will further science in the country, not inhibit it.

In this amendment, the Speaker of the House would appoint three members, while the majority leader of the Senate would appoint two additional members to this advisory board.

Some of these advisory boards have only 15 members. This amendment would allow Republican--and only Republican--leaders of Congress to appoint one-third of these members.

This amendment is clearly meant to politicize these advisory boards. While the sponsor of this amendment is messaging it as giving Congress a bigger voice, that is just not accurate, asked for, or necessary. Congress already has the biggest and final voice. We control the Federal budget. Congress writes authorization bills such as the one before us today. We do not lack influence.

Let's keep our scientific advisory boards free from political interference. If we choose to ignore the advice from our scientific advisory boards, as we are doing with H.R. 1806, that is our right. Congress doesn't also have to put its fingerprints directly on the advice itself. We know by what has been said today that we are trying to take over the responsibility on this bill that I am against, so that is one way you can do it.

This amendment follows the underlying attack on science in this bill, but this amendment goes further. It gives Republican politicians a chance to directly influence the scientific process in our country.

I urge my colleagues to reject this amendment and the underlying bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

4:49 PM EDT

Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-TX 30th

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This amendment allows the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the majority leader of the Senate to appoint members to two scientific advisory boards created in the bill. This amendment is the very definition of politicalizing science when we have politicians choosing who sits on scientific advisory boards.

While my colleagues across the aisle suggest that this amendment ensures accountability, in reality, it only ensures the political meddling in science. Unfortunately, this is consistent with many provisions in the underlying bill.

Scientific advisory boards provide expert scientific advice and make recommendations on subject matter from STEM education to energy research and development. It is essential that advisory board members be qualified and nonpolitical to provide nonpartisan advice and give appropriate recommendations that are free of bias, advice and recommendations based on the best available evidence, and advice and recommendations that will further science in the country, not inhibit it.

In this amendment, the Speaker of the House would appoint three members, while the majority leader of the Senate would appoint two additional members to this advisory board.

Some of these advisory boards have only 15 members. This amendment would allow Republican--and only Republican--leaders of Congress to appoint one-third of these members.

This amendment is clearly meant to politicize these advisory boards. While the sponsor of this amendment is messaging it as giving Congress a bigger voice, that is just not accurate, asked for, or necessary. Congress already has the biggest and final voice. We control the Federal budget. Congress writes authorization bills such as the one before us today. We do not lack influence.

Let's keep our scientific advisory boards free from political interference. If we choose to ignore the advice from our scientific advisory boards, as we are doing with H.R. 1806, that is our right. Congress doesn't also have to put its fingerprints directly on the advice itself. We know by what has been said today that we are trying to take over the responsibility on this bill that I am against, so that is one way you can do it.

This amendment follows the underlying attack on science in this bill, but this amendment goes further. It gives Republican politicians a chance to directly influence the scientific process in our country.

I urge my colleagues to reject this amendment and the underlying bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

4:52 PM EDT

Morgan Griffith, R-VA 9th

Mr. GRIFFITH. Mr. Chairman, I feel so bad that the gentlewoman thinks this is politicizing this bill. That is the furthest thing from my intent.

I know the gentlewoman does not know me and she does not know that, for 17 years, I served in the Virginia House of Delegates. In Virginia, any time we created a board or policy advisory group like this, we generally had legislative members on there.

What we found when we did that was that, when an idea came from the administrative branch, whether it was of the party that I was in or of a different party, we generally found that, by having people that were familiar with both sides of the issue, but people who also relied on and came to talk to us on a regular basis in the legislature, we felt more comfortable with those recommendations that had been made. We understood better what the background was. It made for better government.

That is what this is intended to do. I didn't ask for a majority. I didn't say that Congress should have complete control. It just says there ought to be some members appointed by the Senate and appointed by the House. It doesn't matter which party is in control of the House or Senate. Recently, that was divided. It doesn't matter which party is in the executive branch.

It just says this is a way to make sure that when you think it is important enough--when Congress thinks it is important enough to create an advisory board--that we both have some members, both the House and Senate, on that advisory board to make sure that there is interaction with us, as well as with the executive branch.

Unless the belief is that the executive branch wants to politicize it because they get all the appointments, I don't know why they would think these appointments would be politicizing it. It is just for informational purposes and to make sure that everybody is heard at the table and that those ideas are shared.

4:53 PM EDT

Morgan Griffith, R-VA 9th

Mr. GRIFFITH. Mr. Chairman, I feel so bad that the gentlewoman thinks this is politicizing this bill. That is the furthest thing from my intent.

I know the gentlewoman does not know me and she does not know that, for 17 years, I served in the Virginia House of Delegates. In Virginia, any time we created a board or policy advisory group like this, we generally had legislative members on there.

What we found when we did that was that, when an idea came from the administrative branch, whether it was of the party that I was in or of a different party, we generally found that, by having people that were familiar with both sides of the issue, but people who also relied on and came to talk to us on a regular basis in the legislature, we felt more comfortable with those recommendations that had been made. We understood better what the background was. It made for better government.

That is what this is intended to do. I didn't ask for a majority. I didn't say that Congress should have complete control. It just says there ought to be some members appointed by the Senate and appointed by the House. It doesn't matter which party is in control of the House or Senate. Recently, that was divided. It doesn't matter which party is in the executive branch.

It just says this is a way to make sure that when you think it is important enough--when Congress thinks it is important enough to create an advisory board--that we both have some members, both the House and Senate, on that advisory board to make sure that there is interaction with us, as well as with the executive branch.

Unless the belief is that the executive branch wants to politicize it because they get all the appointments, I don't know why they would think these appointments would be politicizing it. It is just for informational purposes and to make sure that everybody is heard at the table and that those ideas are shared.

4:54 PM EDT

Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-TX 30th

Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. I served in both the house and senate in Texas before coming here; I believe strongly in input, but this very bill and its structure has become so political and so politically tainted in attempting to manipulate what is going on in our agencies, I just don't trust your amendment.

4:55 PM EDT

Morgan Griffith, R-VA 9th

Mr. GRIFFITH. Reclaiming my time, I would say that I don't know the gentlewoman's concerns on this particular bill. I do believe, as a Congress, we ought to be working to make sure that we have input on all of these advisory committees, whether it is on this bill or any other bill.

Mr. Chairman, how much time do I have remaining?

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia has 1 minute remaining.