Refueling America’s Research

When is the last time basic science research touched your life? If you’re using a cell phone or the internet, drinking clean water, using public transportation, or receiving medical care, for example, then the answer is ‘right now’!

Wherever you look, from health care to consumer goods, wireless communication to transportation, food to national security, we are surrounded by and dependent upon innovations made possible by basic research. These incredible innovations arise from a pool of core scientific discoveries that are overwhelmingly funded by federal research grants.

Despite this success, federal research dollars are in steep decline. This is why I wrote a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee in support of both the president’s National Science Foundation budget request of $7.7 billion and the distribution of funds in a balanced research and education portfolio. Twenty-two other Senators joined me in sending the letter, because they also understand the vital importance of research.

Unfortunately, not everyone on Capitol Hill agrees with us.

Yesterday the House Science Committee considered the Republican legislation to reauthorize the National Science Foundation and other federal research agencies. Rather than keeping American clean energy research on top in an increasingly competitive world, the Republican reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act would undermine it by cutting vital programs in the Department of Energy (DOE). Innovation coming out of NSF and DOE helps drive our clean energy revolution from which our nation and planet benefit.

The Republican bill also reduces NSF funds for social science and the geosciences. By attacking geoscience funding because of climate change, Republicans are also undermining the education and research that supports the American energy industry. In fact, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists joined with 18 other geoscience professional societies to warn that the House legislation “<a target="_blank" href="" —> Read More