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Former Science Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson Dead at 89

JAN 02, 2024
Former Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), who chaired the House Science Committee from 2019 to 2022, died on Dec. 31 at the age of 89.
Will Thomas
Spencer R. Weart Director of Research in History, Policy, and Culture
House Science, Space, and Technology Budget Hearing Eddie Bernice Johnson 2011

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) at a 2011 hearing held by the House Science Committee, which she went on to chair.

(Bill Ingalls / NASA)

Former Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), who chaired the House Science Committee from 2019 to 2022, died on Dec. 31 at the age of 89.

Johnson began her career as a nurse before turning to Texas state politics in 1972. She was first elected to represent her Dallas-area district in 1992 and served as a member of the House Science Committee throughout her time in Congress. She rose to lead the committee’s Democratic membership in December 2010, continuing in that role until her retirement 12 years later.

In that position, she worked to maintain the committee as a haven for bipartisan cooperation, including while developing many of the science provisions for the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the committee’s signature achievement during her time as chair. These provisions incorporated measures encouraging diversity in the STEM workforce, a cause for which she was a key champion.

As recognition for that advocacy, she became the namesake for the National Science Foundation’s Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES Initiative in 2023. Johnson was herself the first woman and first African American to chair the Science Committee since its establishment in 1958.

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