U.S. Rep. Randy Weber said Wednesday he wants to remain in a leadership role of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, even as a new Democrat controlled Congress readies to reshape the focus of the group in the wake of Tuesday’s election.
Weber, a Friendswood Republican, on late Wednesday announced he wanted to remain on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and that he is running to be the ranking member of the committee.
In Tuesday’s midterm election, Democrats won enough races nationally to take over a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives. In January 2019, the new leaders of the house will assign members of congress to serve on committees that review proposed legislation and oversee federal agencies.
The ranking member of a committee is usually the most senior member of the minority party. Ranking committee members have some power to influence committee meetings, including calling witnesses to testify.
“Since joining the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, I have made it my top priority to fight for sane energy policies, research and development to spur economic growth, and investments in our long-term national interests, all while maintaining the much- needed balance of fiscal conservatism,” Weber said.
Weber has served on the committee since 2013. The committee oversees federally funded science research and development, and has jurisdiction over agencies including the National Science Foundation, NASA and the National Weather Service.
The science committee was previously chaired by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, who announced his retirement before the midterm elections.
Under Smith’s tenure as chairman, the committee has held widely criticized hearings where members questioned mainstream theories about climate change and sea-level rise.
With Democrats taking over control of the House, a member of that party is all but assured to take over control of the committee. U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Democrat from Waco, already has announced she plans to run for the committee chairmanship.
In a statement Tuesday, Johnson said some of her priorities on the committee would be addressing climate change and science, technology, engineering and math education.
She would also seek to “restore the credibility” of the committee, she said.