Politicians continue to come out in support of scientific research, following President Obama’s repeated defense of basic research last week. Two prominent former government officials have recently made even stronger statements detailing their support for science.
John Marburger, former science advisor to President George Bush, penned an editorial earlier this month on the Huffington Post in which he derided the House of Representatives for its attempts to cut funding for agencies specializing in funding scientific research. Coming at the height of the FY11 budget battle, Marburger’s post warned that if cuts to science agencies were to occur, “the damage…will be long-term.” He also emphasized that “the role of scientific research must be acknowledged for what it is: the key to our nation’s future.”
Though science agencies escaped relatively unharmed in the FY11 budget, their fate for FY12 is more tenuous, especially given House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s deficit reduction plan, which aims to reduce discretionary spending to FY08 levels. Speaking last week at a Brookings Institute event, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich responded to Ryan’s proposal by pointing out that, while he supports the basic tenor of the plan, “there are details I disagree with. One of them is cutting investment in science and research.” During his tenure as Speaker, Gingrich oversaw the implementation of the NIH budget doubling that began in 1998.
Though science and research are generally well-received on Capitol Hill (and few politicians ever come out against these topics), it is a rare politician who will actually go out of his or her way to actively promote investment in these areas. Contact the ASBMB Public Affairs office to find out how you can get your voice heard!