Press Release

Sen. Sam Brownback to Chair Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space

By SpaceRef Editor
January 10, 2003
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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback today announced he will chair the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space under the Commerce Committee in the 108th Congress.

ìI expect the Senate Commerce Committee to be very busy during the 108th Congress under Chairman McCainís leadership, and I intend for the Science, Tech, and Space Subcommittee to follow suit,î said Senator Brownback. ìOur nation faces numerous challenges ranging from the ongoing debate over human cloning, addressing the role of the media in public health, and identifying innovative solutions to our common environmental concerns. I will also address the challenge of revitalizing and growing our technology sector, which is a cornerstone of our nationís information economy. In addition, I look forward to focusing on the aerospace industry to ensure it retains its position of leadership in the competitive international market, as well as reestablishing American leadership in the commercial space sector,î Brownback said.

Science Policy

Cloning: Senator Brownback will continue the ongoing discussion on the science of human cloning and related biotechnical developments including, but not limited to, germline gene modification, the creation of chimeras and other genetic interventions into the human species.

Media’s Impact on Public Health: Thousands of studies have found a strong relationship between media violence and violent behavior — a correlation stronger than many proven associations, including that between tobacco smoke and lung cancer. For this reason, Senator Brownback will continue to pursue additional research into the impact of the media on public health through hearings at the full Committee or Subcommittee level, as well as drafting appropriate legislation on this vitally important topic. This is not about censorship, but rather an effort to fully understand what our culture is doing to our society, for while the media is not the only factor affecting the physical and mental health of our children, it is a critical one — and one that we can change.

Climate Change: The Senator will be in investigating climate science specifically looking at research in the productive field of Carbon Sequestration, the process by which plants remove gaseous carbon from the atmosphere and store it through photosynthesis. In Kansas, and throughout the mid-west, the potential for bringing carbon into the soil is vast. Already, the Chicago Climate Exchange is working out the details of a nationwide project that will at once provide a new revenue stream for farmers, improved soil conservation techniques and reduce our net carbon output. Some estimates I have seen believe that the potential for sequestering carbon in this pilot project could greater than the amount of carbon that Germany produces each year.

Technology Policy

Technology of Broadband: In order to gauge how consumers and the marketplace may come to redefine broadband in light of evolving and new technologies, Senator Brownback intends to review developments such as Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH), 802.11 (Wi Fi), and other technologies. High-bandwidth technologies will make possible the simultaneous transmission of voice, data, and multiple streams of high-definition video, achieving the objective inherent in the high tech industryís call for the deployment of 100 megabits-per-second of data capacity to every home in America.

Digital Rights Management and Tech Mandates: Convergence and broadband connectivity have raised concerns regarding intellectual property protection in the digital age. Senator Brownback intends to review proposals relating to technological measures (DRM) designed to combat digital piracy and related regulatory mandates, including the economic and innovation costs of such mandates. Senator Brownback will also focus on alternative means of addressing digital piracy.

Economic Revitalization of the Tech Sector: Senator Brownbackís pro-growth priorities include reviewing how President Bushís forward-looking economic stimulus initiative will directly benefit the technology sector. Senator Brownback intends to review the depreciation measure for IT products, the Research and Development credit, how the elimination of taxation on dividends may benefit the technology sector, and additional concepts that will assist in the economic recovery and continued growth of the technology sector in the U.S. economy.

Space Policy

Ensuring Continued U.S. Leadership in the Aerospace Industry: Senator Brownback embraces the recommendations in the Final Report of the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. The U.S. aerospace industry has consolidated to just a few interested players since 1980 and the industry is confronted with an aging science, engineering, and manufacturing workforce. This critical base of our nationís aerospace industry is showing signs of weakening. Senator Brownback intends to review the reasons behind this development and evaluate how the Congress can help ensure a strong future for the United States in the competitive aerospace industry.

Promoting Domestic Launching of U.S. Commercial Satellites: The commercial satellite industry continues to look overseas for the launching of their communication and commercial satellites. Senator Brownback intends to look into the reasons behind this and how it may be more of an issue during these increasingly security sensitive times. While the government should continue its commitment to international cooperative space missions, it should look for ways to increase domestic launch demand and reliability.

Brownback is a ember of the Senate Committees on Appropriations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Foreign Relations; and the Joint Economic Committee.

SpaceRef staff editor.