Of Note: S&T Policy Quotations of 2004

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Publication date: 
5 January 2005

Congress reconvened yesterday, and President Bush will send his FY 2006 budget request to Congress in about a month. Before moving on, this FYI, and FYI #3, will take a look back at 2004. The following are notable quotations appearing in FYI during the last year. The FYIs from which they are taken are noted; see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/ to see the issue.

"This afternoon we got a mandate. And we got support for a set of specific objectives that very clearly identifies exploration and discovery as the central objective of what this agency is all about." - NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe on plan to return to the moon (#7)

"I am very disappointed in the proposed [FY 2005] science budget, and I will be working with the Administration and my congressional colleagues to improve the numbers as we move through the budget process. I understand that we are in a very tight fiscal situation and that the Administration has tried to treat research and development as favorably as possible. But we just have to find a way to do better." - House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) (#10)

"Two years ago, the Congress sent the President a bill authorizing a doubling of NSF's programs over 5 years. Despite signing that bill to glowing reviews, the President sent us two successive budgets that fall far short of reaching that goal." - Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) (#11)

"Not all programs can or should receive equal priority, and this [FY 2005] budget [request] reflects priority choices consistent with recommendations from numerous expert sources." - OSTP Director John Marburger (#21)

The "nation's advantage in science and technology is key to securing the homeland." - Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary Charles McQueary (#21)

"NASA has had a mixed record on the credibility of its budgeting." - House Science Committee Ranking Minority Member Bart Gordon (D-TN) (#22)

"...it is going to be a major and perhaps an impossible challenge to find additional funds for NSF for FY 2005. I am committed to NSF, but this year's budget is the most difficult I have seen in years. I want to work with the Administration, but we need to find ways to increase NSF's budget as we move forward, if not this year, next year." - Senate VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) (#23)

"We need to find that place where the need to protect America's homeland security interests is balanced against the well-being of the nation's science and technology enterprise." - Rep. Gordon during a hearing on the visa process (#24)

"It's pretty obvious, it won't be a bed of roses." - Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) during hearing on DOE budget request for science (#25)

"You can tell me about the fundamental aspects of matter, but money is the fundamental building block of the tools you need to study matter." - Chairman Boehlert. Later in his address to a Brookhaven National Laboratory workshop, Boehlert said, "The future of science funding will depend on many things beyond your control - the macroeconomic situation, the nature of competing needs, etc. But it will also depend on how actively you can make people like me understand why what you're about is important to our nation." (#32)

". . . how important it is if we can somehow meet the goal of 3% of defense spending for science and technology and maintain the technological lead that is absolutely essential if we are going to be successful or continue to be successful in the global war on terrorism." - Senate Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) (#38)

"This subcommittee bows to no one" in championing NSF, but "doubling [its budget] will be very, very difficult." - House VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman James Walsh (R-NY) (#45)

"I don't think you'll see a lot of money put into that effort." - House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Hobson (R-OH) discussing the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP or "bunker buster") (#50)

"I'm concerned it's too much, too fast." - House VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Minority Member Alan Mollohan (D-WV) on NASA plan to return to the moon (#54)

"Science policy entails more than setting budgets, but that is the bottom line of the policy process." - OSTP Director Marburger (#55)

"We have not done enough to show the American people the connection between the work underway in your laboratories and the problems that affect their lives. This must change. The stakes could not be higher." - Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-SD) addressing an AAAS forum (#55)

"Now, more than ever, American science must enlighten American statecraft." - Secretary of State Colin Powell (#68)

"Resorting to nuclear weapons to destroy hardened targets is a disproportionate response with too many negative ramifications and little benefit." - Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) on RNEP (#69)

". . . the reality is that those countries are burrowing in their command and control facilities, their chemical weapons, their missiles; and we must continue to hold those at risk." - Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) speaking in support of RNEP research funding (#69)

"We as policymakers or the regulatory agencies need good science, science that has not been interfered with by politicians." - Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) in support of an amendment to create an independent commission to study charges that the Administration has polarized scientific advice. (#71)

"I assume the goal of the gentleman from California [Rep. Waxman] is not to politicize science and research, yet I respectfully suggest that this is what this amendment does. And the comments of the gentleman [Rep. Waxman] on the floor were sort of blasting the Bush Administration for some of the things they have done. . . . " - House Subcommittee on Research Chairman Nick Smith (R-MI) (#71)

"The Commission fully supports your vision and finds that this journey of exploration will sustain vital national objectives here on Earth." - letter to President Bush from E.C. "Pete" Aldridge, Jr., Chairman of the President's Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond (#85)

"The nuclear weapons the administration is developing go by such terms as ‘mini-nukes' and ‘bunker busters.' They may not posses the yield of the nuclear warheads of the cold war era, but a mushroom cloud is still a mushroom cloud. They can still cause monumental destruction, massive casualties, and long-term environmental damage to entire regions of the world." - Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) (#89)

"We are challenging our scientists to think of a wide variety of options and face challenges to ensure that our nuclear deterrent is flexible and responsive to evolving threats. Failure to challenge our physicists and engineers will limit our capabilities in the future . . . . " - Senator Domenici on RNEP (#89)

"Nanoscience will make the physical sciences as sexy as the life sciences were in the last ten years." - Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) at DOE NanoSummit (#95)

"Today, in Washington, Los Alamos' reputation as a crown jewel of science is being eclipsed by a reputation as being both dysfunctional and untouchable. I do not yet know if the most recent security incident is, unto itself, of great consequence. But I can tell you that the analogy of the straw that breaks the camel's back is appropriate." - Senator Domenici in a letter to LANL community (#100)

"I hope that the American people will observe the World Year of Physics by supporting physics education and research. I encourage physicists and educators to engage the public, especially the children, in physics to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers." - Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) (#105)

"The political and scientific fields are very divergent, and, unfortunately, very few people understand the intimate workings of both. While we have done a poor job of educating one another about the thought processes and value systems that govern our respective fields, we appear to have learned even less about their intersections and boundaries." - Rep. Ehlers (#107)

"It would be hard to think of a better person for the job." - Chairman Boehlert on the nomination of Arden Bement to be the NSF director (#124)

". . . how do we fix the existing shuttle, how do we make sure the space station is working, and at the same time with a limited amount of money embark on new missions to Mars and new missions to the moon with a new vehicle? . . . I don't think this all adds up." - Senator John Breaux (D-LA) (#132)

". . . the only point I am making is that if scientists are going to be politically active, all of us who have been in politics know that the opposition finds ways of moving in opposite ways at times. And so, what you could find, is that that kind of prominence will create debates on Capitol Hill that I don't think science should do." - Robert Walker, former chairman of the House Science Committee (R-PA) (#135)

"Reducing this funding is extremely short-sighted." - Rep. Ehlers on FY 2005 NSF appropriation (#149)

"I am particularly pleased with his technical training and outstanding track record at MIT. He understands the critical role science, research and advanced technologies will play in meeting our energy challenges." - Senator Domenici on nomination of Samuel Bodman as Energy Secretary

"Grim, in a word. . . very grim." - Bob Palmer, Minority Staff Director for House Science Committee, describing overall science and technology budget outlook (#160)

"You can change the image of things to come. But you can't do it wringing your hands, and you can't do it sitting on your fingers, you've got to get out and get involved and defend science as you have never defended science before. Science can, in my judgement, be sold to this Administration and this Congress. I suggest that the best way to do that is to recount to them over and over again. . . that the economic destiny of America lies in science and technology, in science and research. And if we don't invest in research, and we don't inspire our children, and if we don't educate them in Congress, the competition out there, and China is a good example, but Europe also, will begin to eat our scientific lunch." - John Porter, former chairman of the House Labor, Health and Human Service, Education Appropriations Subcommittee (R-IL) (#161)