Congressional Report for March 2017
by Timmy Curry, Clarion Staff
The 115th Congress has only been in office for about three months since January 3, 2017. They have only passed a few bills but some of them are significant to the future of the country.
These two bills are to encourage women to get into fields where they are currently underrepresented. The first bill directs NASA to encourage women and girls to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM. The official name is the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act. This bill accomplishes this by providing support for initiatives such as NASA GIRLS and NASA BOYS, Aspire to Inspire, and Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research. NASA will send to Congress a specific plan to encourage females young and old on how they can get into STEM careers and Aerospace careers. The second bill directs a focus on getting more women into the commercial sector. This bill is known as the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act which will change the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act to authorize the National Science Foundation to encourage its entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and into the commercial world.
The major debate in Congress right now is how to provide healthcare coverage to as many people as possible at an affordable cost. The Democrats are defending the Affordable Care Act which was passed in 2010 while the Republicans are trying to come up with an alternative. A bill was put into the public eye on March 6 earning opposition from both Democrats and some Republicans. What remains to be seen is how Congress will negotiate and will the new bill gain more support if changed on the Republican side or be dead due to opposition and then will the Affordable Care Act be changed to add improvements for the cost issues like the Democrats desire.