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Still Open Spots at OSTP

There are numerous vacancies at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and no sign of when or if they might be filled, CBS News reports. In particular, it notes that the White House has yet to nominate a science advisor and that the OSTP says there are no personnel announcements to be made.

As CBS News reports, the number of OSTP staffers has dwindled to 45 people under President Donald Trump from the 135 people who worked there during the Obama administration. Additionally, it notes that current staffers tend not to have a degree in the sciences. A White House official tells CBS News that the office has been streamlined to focus in particular on technology, science, and national security. In July, an official noted that despite the reduced numbers, "[a]ll of the work that we have been doing is still being done."

The office was created in 1976 under President Gerald Ford to provide scientific and technical policymaking advice.

Seven Democratic lawmakers from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee sent a letter to Trump late last week — a follow-up on one they sent in April — to encourage him to fill positions at OSTP, noting that experts there could provide technical advice on climate change, the Iran nuclear deal, and North Korea's nuclear program. Members of the House of Representatives sent a similar letter in May.