Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

Ralph Hall’s Loss Will Leave a Hole on Science Panel


Hall at a hearing in 2002. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, lost his re-election bid last night, and so when the 114th Congress convenes next year, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will be without a long-time fixture.

The 91 year-old, known for his sense of humor deployed with a Southern drawl, has held a seat on the committee since the start of his tenure in the House more than three decades ago. He was chairman in 2011 and 2012.

Your Technocrat blogger contributed to CQ’s 2013 profile on Hall, who represents a portion of the Dallas exurbs in the northeastern part of the state. Here’s an excerpt:

He continues to assert his views on NASA, which has a large presence in Texas. While serving as chairman, Hall made several examinations of the agency’s transition away from the space shuttle program. Hall worries that the United States is too reliant on Russia for access to the International Space Station, and he has criticized NASA’s pace in developing its crew vehicle and heavy-lift rocket. He has been skeptical about the market viability of transportation for commercial crews and NASA’s ability to oversee safety as companies develop these capacities.

As chairman, Hall was a critic of the Obama administration’s energy policies:

[He] said its proposed research budgets overemphasized alternative energy at the cost of basic research and energy sources such as oil and gas. He accused the administration of misusing science, saying at a hearing that “the president delivers a wink and a nod to EPA as it continues to regulate affordable energy out of existence, often on the basis of shaky and secretive and faulty science.”

Hall’s departure will mean the end of quips like this at a 2011 hearing when he was chairman (from CQ’s transcript archive):

Today’s witnesses are among the best and the brightest in their — and then certainly in their field; test pilots, astronauts, administrators, and scientists. Collectively, their years of aerospace experience may even exceed my age — I don’t know who wrote that part in there…


…. which — they are fired …


  • Roberta Crichton

    To justify and wield arbitrary power, those who preach from collectivism’s altar often attempt to hijack democracy’s ideal by claiming that majority rule is absolute.

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