Of Note: Selected Quotations from FYI in 2013

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Publication date: 
10 January 2014

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“It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term wellbeing of our country.” – Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX)

“Looking at all three of those, we have no idea what the hell’s going to happen.” – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on impending sequestration, expiration of short-term funding, and the threat of default

“I think that there’s an attitude that governing isn’t necessarily good politics, that gridlock and confrontation is good politics.  And I think we pay a price for that.  And that’s what’s happening.” – Defense Secretary Panetta

“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” – President Obama in his inauguration speech

“No federal budget in the foreseeable future is going to provide NASA with the money it needs to do everything we want it to do.” – Former House Science Committee Chairman Robert Walker

“It makes no sense to educate the world’s future innovators and entrepreneurs only to ultimately force them to leave our country at the moment they are most able to contribute to our economy.” – President Obama

“It is my hope that we will be considered a bipartisan committee, working together for the best interests of our country.” – New House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX)

“The [Science] Committee . . . has much important work to do in the 113th Congress and the only way we will be able to get it done is through bipartisanship.” -  House Science, Space and Technology Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

“Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation.  Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.” – President Obama in his State on the Union

“These are large and arbitrary cuts, and will have severe impacts across government.” – Comptroller of the Office of Management and Budget Danny Werfel on impending budget cuts due to sequestration

“The wolf is at the door.” – Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter discussing impacts of flat funding and sequestration

“Funds currently spent by the government on social science – including on politics of all things – would be better spent helping find cures to diseases.” – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)

“Biomedical research is important, social science research is important, energy research is important, and defense research is important.  The list goes on and on.  We need to be discussing how to fund all of this important scientific research, not how to get rid of it.” – Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

“There is nothing more important in our committee’s jurisdiction than your mission.” – House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) at a budget hearing on the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)

“An abject failure.” – Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN) on reforms of NNSA construction management practices

“We can say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need.” – NNSA Acting Administrator and Acting Undersecretary for Nuclear Security Neile Miller

“I’m disappointed that we haven’t achieved ignition.” – NNSA Deputy Administrator Donald Cook commenting on the National Ignition Facility

“Some things went away.” – DOE Office of Science Director William Brinkman when discussing the formulation of ten year budget scenarios

“It is unacceptable to allow our space program to atrophy because the vision, or lack thereof, changes from year to year.” – Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)

“The economic impact of Argonne and Fermilab in Illinois is estimated to be more than $1.3 billion annually, and has historically, and will in the future, have enormous spin off benefits throughout our country.” – Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) in testimony to the House Budget Committee

“I think it is very legitimate.” - Comptroller of the Office of Management and Budget Werfel discussing criticism about travel restrictions on federal scientists attending conferences

“We know that STEM education is a complex problem with no easy or one-size-fits-all solution.” - House Research Subcommittee Ranking Member Daniel Lipinski (D-IL)

“As humans, we can identify galaxies light years away, we can study particles smaller than an atom.  But we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears.” – President Obama announcing his BRAIN Initiative.

“Mapping the human brain is exactly the type of research we should be funding . . . it’s great science.” – Senior House Republican staffer

“You may prove to be the rare nominee who gathers wide bipartisan acclaim.” – Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to Ernest Moniz at his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of energy. 

“Not the budget we would want if the financial times were better.” – OSTP Director John Holdren commenting on FY 2014 request for federal science and technology programs

“We are in a world of pain when it comes to the amounts of money available to us overall.” – Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) to OSTP Director Holdren regarding funding for the DOE High Energy Physics Program

“There is a widespread concern that our nation’s preeminence in science and innovation is eroding.” – Ioannis Miaoulis, President and Director of Boston’s Museum of Science

“I feel very, very, very, very, very strongly about these issues.” – House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) discussing NASA’s security enforcement procedures to prevent espionage by China and other nations

“I personally think NASA is spread too thin.” – Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) on the agency’s budget

“I don’t do magic.” – NASA Administrator Charles Bolden commenting on the impacts of sequestration

“I’m afraid that the James Webb [Space Telescope cost] overruns could begin to eat NASA alive.” -  Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)  (NASA Administrator Bolden gave assurances that the telescope is on budget and on schedule.)

“I’m glad I’m not in your shoes.” – Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to NNSA officials

“If the NNSA does not find a more effective way to deal with the design of these large multi-billion dollar facilities . . . it is going to lose congressional support for those facilities.” – Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

“Challenging accepted beliefs through open debate and critical thinking is a primary part of the scientific process.” – House Science Committee Chairman Smith at a hearing on climate change

“The reality of climate change is increasingly impossible to deny.” – House Subcommittee on Environment Ranking Member Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)

“This is not an overnight thing.  We did not just think this up . . . NASA has been working on this for decades.” – Administrator Bolden on proposed asteroid mission

“I just don’t know how we continue to do this.” – Appropriations subcommittee chairwoman Feinstein when discussing ITER
“To be blunt, it seems to me that it was not very well thought out.” – House Science Committee Ranking Member Johnson on Administration’s proposed STEM program reorganization plan

“Imagine how the discovery of life outside our solar system would alter our priorities for space exploration and how we view our place in the universe.” – House Science Committee Chairman Smith

“If that trend holds for other classes of stars, it would mean that there are approximately 50 billion potentially habitable rocky planets spread throughout our galaxy.”  - NASA Associate Administrator John Grunsfeld

“We must do the best with the hand we’ve been dealt.” – House Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) on future NASA funding levels

“The Majority knows that these funding levels are really a nonstarter and I think they have set NASA on an unfortunate path to failure.” – House Space Subcommittee Ranking Member Donna Edwards (D-MD)

“We are just never going to agree on this.” – Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) on future NASA funding levels

“A disappointment for me.” – Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) commenting on a committee party line vote on a NASA reauthorization bill

“The House, Senate and White House must come together as soon as possible on a comprehensive compromise that repeals sequestration, takes the nation off this lurching path from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis, reduces our deficits and debt, and provides a realistic topline discretionary spending level to fund the government in a responsible - and attainable - way.”  - House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) after a funding bill was withdrawn from the floor when there were not enough votes to pass it

“No matter how many facilities or what specific form they take, a consent-based approach to siting it critical to success.” – Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz testifying on nuclear waste legislation

“I have an open mind.” – Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane on the merits of the Yucca Mountain waste repository

“We have a fine mess on our hands . . . a magnificent mess.” – Rep. John Dingell commenting on the future of the Yucca Mountain waste repository

“Sequestration goes on and on and you go down and down.” – Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) addressing S&T witnesses at a hearing on the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act

“Scrimping on science and holding up scientific progress, for whatever reason, is penny wise and pound foolish.” – Saul Perlmutter of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at a Senate hearing on the COMPETES Act