April 21, 2017–Eight Democratic members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee wrote President Trump today urging him to appoint experts for critical posts in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and in others areas of the federal government. “Without adequate OSTP staffing, the country will lack key insights from those with deep experience in these fields. We understand that few staff are currently assigned to OSTP, with only one staff member in the Office of the White House Chief Technology Officer as of last month – a position recently authorized by Congress. Moreover, you have yet to name a science advisor, OSTP director, or Chief Technology Officer. Most OSTP staff are detailed from other Federal agencies, so a build up of staff to OSTP will not require a large influx of new government employees,” the senators said.
“We urge you to nominate well-qualified experts to these and other key science and technology positions within your administration. OSTP leaders must be able to fulfill the Office’s mission of providing accurate, relevant and timely scientific and technological advice to the president and help ensure that federal policy is informed by sound science,” the lawmakers added. “They must have strong scientific and technical backgrounds and understand the scientific method and the need for evidence-based science. They must also be nationally recognized and respected experts with connections to the broader scientific and technology communities so that they can be conduits for the scientific and technical expertise of the nation. As members of the Senate committee of jurisdiction, we pledge to carefully review nominees for these positions who fulfill these criteria.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee; Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.); Edward J. Markey (D., Mass.); Gary Peters (D., Mich.); Tom Udall (D., N.M.); Cory Booker (D., N.J.); Catherine Cortez Masto (D., Nev.); and Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii), ranking member of the communications, technology, innovation and the Internet subcommittee. —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org