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OSTP Head Still Needed

In a letter, half a dozen members of the US House of Representatives science committee express their concern that President Donald Trump has yet to appoint a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy director or adequately staff the office, Popular Science reports.

OSTP was established in 1976 to provide the president with advice on policies that affect science and technology, PopSci adds, noting that an informal version was established under Kennedy.

The letter-writers, who include Don Beyer (D-Va.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), and Mark Takano (D-Calif.), argue that by not relying on the office, the president opens himself up to receiving "misinformation and fake news."

Beyer tells Popular Science that Trump has "repeatedly taken in by false stories that may reinforce his worldview but bear no resemblance to the truth." In particular, he notes that Trump has "called climate change a Chinese hoax," and says the administration has "consistently shown total disregard for science."

"Relying on factual technical and scientific data has helped make America the greatest nation in the world," the letter-writers argue. "We therefore urge you to quickly appoint a qualified, widely respected candidate to direct OSTP."