Perhaps the following report was one significant piece of information that stimulated the US House report:
INVESTIGATION OF NANO-NUCLEAR REACTIONS IN
Dr. Pamela A. Mosier-Boss, Mr. Lawrence P. Forsley, Dr. Patrick J. McDaniel
Performed for the Defense Threat Reduction agency.
This summary of research funded by the US Navy over many years, coupled with a large number of positive reports from various other agencies and groups around the world, may have helped to stimulate renewed interest within the US Gov't. I think that it is fair to say that the probability that LENR is a real effect is almost surely between zero and one. If it turns out to be true, then the impact on humanity will be un-measurable. If it turns out to be false, then the impact of having wasted research money to explore it would be essentially negligible from a global perspective. It makes sense therefore for humanity to spend some money studying it, as it has in fact been doing in isolated investments internationally. In my personal opinion, if LENR is true, then it means that our current understanding of nuclear and condensed matter physics are deficient, as they seem to preclude the possibility that most of the LENR experimental reports are possible. But at some point the number of experimental claims by legitimate researchers can no longer be dismissed based on theoretical bias, no matter how well accepted it is. There is a need for more physicists to become active in this field, but the reputation trap that most would face if they did, not to mention the lack of support, are extreme negative inducements. There may also be negative effects of LENR that aren't apparent to us now, so that it should be carefully monitored. Because of the upside potential, it is impossible to prevent overly optimistic and eager inventors from trying to capitalize on the prospect of unlimited nearly free energy. There have been a number of unsuccessful inventors and startups trying to build LENR or cold fusion reactors over the years. The first one that I know of was John Tandberg, at Electrolux in Sweden, in the 1920s (http://newenergytimes.com/v2/books/Reviews/SoederbergByBritz.shtml).
Someday one of them might succeed.