Of Note: Selected Quotations from FYI in 2008

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Publication date: 
9 January 2009

Before turning to 2009, a final look at 2008 with selected quotations from FYI:

"The adopted [FY 2008] budget is untenable for our nation, if we are to maintain any hope of providing world leadership in science and technology and remaining economically competitive." - Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI)

"Due to the President's insistence that we cut over $20 billion from the [FY 2008] budget, these investments fall far short of what House Democrats had provided in earlier House-passed bills, especially in the areas of research and development." - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

"Trying to understand the laws of nature can be frustrating, but I think most of us here today would agree that it pales in comparison to trying to understand the laws of man." - NASA Administrator Michael Griffin at an American Astronomical Society meeting

"I think sometimes we simply refuse to see that from the perspective of other communities supporting other interests, NASA is not special, science is not special, and astronomy is not special.  We are one of many constituencies clamoring for the ever-dwindling fraction of the U.S. budget over which there is any practical control. . . . " - NASA Administrator Griffin

"I ask Congress to double federal support for critical basic research in the physical sciences and ensure America remains the most dynamic nation on Earth." - President George Bush in his State of the Union address

"The implications of climate science are profound for society, and we have also to deal with the extremely difficult and not at all straightforward issue of how society should respond to its emerging awareness of climate change and its origins." - OSTP Director John Marburger

"We are now at a perilous moment in the history of funding for science in the United States." - Energy Under Secretary for Science Raymond Orbach.

"We scientists tend to regard the proposed increases for the physical sciences under the American Competitiveness Initiative and the America COMPETES Act as an entitlement.  That attitude has failed us." - Under Secretary Orbach

"Let me come right to the point. We are here to discuss the future of America. More than a dozen major studies have now concluded that a substantial increase in federal funding for basic scientific research is critical to ensure the preeminence of America's scientific and technological enterprise."  - NSF Director Arden Bement on the FY 2009 NSF budget request

"The FY 2009 budget includes $1.7 billion for basic research initiatives. In total, I have directed an increase of about $1 billion over the next five years for fundamental, peer-reviewed basic research – a two percent increase in real annual growth." - Defense Secretary Robert Gates

"Dr. Orbach, I am very mindful of the importance of federal funding for research and development in the area of physical sciences. If you don't receive your full [FY 2009] request for science research, it's not because of lack of support for your Office, but the necessity of balancing competing needs that have nothing to do with Science that is at issue." - House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Peter Visclosky (D-IN)

"We made a deal." - House Appropriator Ken Calvert (R-CA) on discussing US participation in the ITER project

"I think, speaking as someone who has managed research at a high level for much of my life, it's almost more important to have stability and predictability in federal funding of research and programs than it is to have a lot of money, although a lot of money is desirable."  - OSTP Director Marburger

"It seems to me that if we are serious about balancing our energy issues, greater independence, for example from foreign oil and all the other related matters, we've got to be serious about a wide range of things. That does include science. It also includes energy efficiency. It includes renewable energy." - Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Byron Dorgan (D-ND) during hearing on FY 2009 Office of Science request

"And so when they embarked upon the Mars mission . . . they never gave us any money. So we are very frustrated that we were given an assignment without the money, and it fell upon us to come up with the money." - Senate Commerce, Justice Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) referring to previous NASA requests

"We've got all those international partners involved, and we wonder how in the hell are we going to get there. So we're cranky. We're not cranky with you [NASA Administrator Griffin], but we're cranky, because we keep feeling like we're being set up. . . . " - Senator Mikulski speaking of the space station

"To fly the shuttle after the space station is completed for any significant length of time I believe would incur a risk I would not choose to accept on behalf of our astronauts." - NASA Administrator Griffin

"Despite these high achievements, Dr. Wheeler remained committed to the nurturing of the next generation of scientists. He continued to teach introductory classes to undergraduates throughout his career, and he mentored some of the century's most noted theoretical physicists. Any physicist with the amount and color of the hair that I possess will also have indelible memories of 'MTW,' the big black book called Gravitation authored by Misner, Thorne, and John Archibald Wheeler that describes in intuitive terms what is really going on in Einstein's general theory of relativity." - Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) during House consideration of resolution honoring John Archibald Wheeler

"My interest, at the end of the day, is to maintain a robust workforce in our national laboratories to pursue aggressive new science, because I think that's a significant investment in the future of this country in dozens of areas, not just the issue of certification of nuclear weapons. So I think that you should know there's a lot of support on this committee for the advancement of science and for the work that you do in your laboratories. I think the national laboratories are jewels and produce significant opportunities for this country's future." - Senate  appropriations subcommittee chairman Dorgan

"Regardless of the circumstances, the give and take of politics, including all the partisan dealing, all the lobbying, and all the local issues that intrude on the national scene, ends up giving research about the same fraction of the discretionary budget every year in Administration after Administration. The time series has bumps, but they rarely range outside a narrow band."  - OSTP Director Marburger, who added that one study calculated this amount as 13 to 14 percent of the total discretionary budget for all R&D

"The President’s request is long on [nuclear] weapons and short on nonproliferation. Compared to the previous year, the weapons request is up five percent while the nonproliferation request is down six percent. This request is not well focused on the threats we face in 2009 and beyond." - House appropriations subcommittee chairman Visclosky

"The inclusion of competitiveness funding in this [FY 2008] supplemental bill - and the strong funding levels expected to be included in the FY09 House appropriations bills - should leave no doubt about this Congress' commitment to Federal funded basic research and math and science education." - House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) following House passage of bill to provide additional science funding for the current year

"Serious public discourse has begun. The tide of public opinion has started to swing back toward nuclear energy and as climate change grows in the public consciousness, and our options are reassessed, debated, and weighed in the court of public opinion, nuclear power has reentered the mainstream. We are looking at a resurgence here in the United States and it is becoming more and more clear that nuclear power must play a significant role in our future energy mix." - DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon

"Yucca Mountain is not only a dangerous proposition for the people of Nevada, it's a risky plan for every community in the country that would have the waste transported through their cities and towns, which is why I will continue my work to kill the proposed dump once and for all." - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

"I  am confident the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s rigorous review process will validate that the Yucca Mountain repository will safely store this waste in a manner that is most protective of human health and the environment." - Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman

"I believe that aggressive support of energy science and technology, coupled with incentives that accelerate the development and deployment of innovative solutions, can transform the entire landscape of energy demand and supply. It is especially important that we invest in those ideas that industry has not yet been willing to explore." - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director, and now Energy Secretary Designate Steven Chu

"H.R. 6063 [National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008] is a fiscally responsible measure that sends a strong message to the next Administration that Congress believes that investing in a balanced NASA program of science, aeronautics, and human spaceflight and exploration is important and worthy of the nation's support." -  House Science Committee Chairman Gordon

"I think it's going to be critically important for us to recruit a generation of new teachers, an army of new teachers, especially in math and science, give them higher pay, give them more professional development and support in exchange for higher standards and accountability." - Presidential candidate, and now President-Elect Obama

"It was also not an easy task to turn to the investigators and to the scientific community in general and announce that the funding to support research in the most important problem facing the United States, although promised, was not going to be there. This budget shortfall dumbfounded, surprised, frustrated and irked everyone involved in this effort." - University of Massachusetts Professor Thomas Russell testifying about a DOE Office of Science energy initiative that was ultimately not funded

"Our ability to deliver new energy technologies and innovations will depend crucially on our ability to fund new energy science and engineering, and on training the next generation of energy researchers and technicians. Our investments in these areas have been totally inadequate over the past decade, and we need to boost these levels substantially. That is a cause that has strong bipartisan support here in the Senate. . . ." - Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

"The key thing for us is the appropriation" - Gene Nardella, DOE Acting Associate Director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences

"Absolutely crucial" -  Dennis Kovar, Associate Director of Science for High Energy Physics   commenting on the FY 2008 supplemental funding provided by Congress

"Steven [Chu] is uniquely suited to be our next Secretary of Energy as we make this pursuit [of new alternative and renewable energies] a guiding purpose of the Department of Energy, as well as a national mission. The scientists at our national labs will have a distinguished peer at the helm. His appointment should send a signal to all that my Administration will value science, we will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that the facts demand bold action." - President-Elect Obama

"A physicist [John Holdren] renowned for his work on climate and energy, he’s received numerous honors and awards for his contributions and has been one of the most passionate and persistent voices of our time about the growing threat of climate change. I look forward to his wise counsel in the years ahead." - President-Elect Obama announcing Holdren as his  Assistant to the President for Science and Technology

"Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient - especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States – and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work." - President-Elect Obama

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