With the Republicans retaking control of the House, the race is underway to seek seats on various committees as well as their chairmanships. Ralph Hall (R-TX), the current ranking member of the House Science and Technology Committee, is in line to chair the committee in January, and this week issued a press release that made it sound like he was staking him claim on the chairmanship. “I look forward to working with current members on the Science and Technology Committee, as well as hearing from our new members, to formulate and advance an agenda that keeps our nation moving forward,” he said in the statement. He cited several “key areas” that the committee should conduct oversight of, none of which is directly related to space policy: “climate change, scientific integrity, energy research and development (R&D), cybersecurity, and science education.” It’s unclear yet if any other member, such as Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), will challenge Hall for the committee chairmanship.
Mo Brooks, the Republican who won Alabama’s 5th District in Tuesday’s election, vowed he would “shield NASA”, along with defense and law enforcement, from budget cuts. Interestingly, though, he did not indicate he was seeking a position on the House Appropriations Committee, where he could play a role in stopping such cuts. Instead, he said he was seeking posts on two to three committees, including the Science and Technology Committee.