Of Note: Selected Quotations from FYI in 2014

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Publication date: 
9 January 2015

“Funding scientific research and development results in one of the highest return-on-investments our nation can make. It is essential we continue to fully support funding for our national labs to preserve our global competitive advantage.” - Rep Bill Foster (D-IL)

“We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow.  This is an edge America cannot surrender.” – President Obama in his State of the Union

“. . . the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact.” -  President Obama

“. . . absolutely secure our lead in astronomy for the next fifty years.” –Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) speaking about the James Webb Space Telescope

“The 2015 budget reflects this Administration’s clear-eyed recognition that our Nation’s standing as a global leader today is built largely on a foundation of science and technology.” –OSTP Director John Holdren

“There’s a sense that America is falling behind, with our best days behind us.  Today, America’s finest spaceships and largest rockets are found in museums rather than on launch pads.” – House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX)

“If we are going to be a nation that has a future in space, a nation with a strong strategic plan and the will to execute it, 0.5% of the national budget is simply not adequate.” - Sandra Magnus, Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

“The FIRST Act assures that scarce taxpayer dollars are spent on high quality science that promotes our national interest. In recent years, the NSF has funded a number of questionable research grants -- using up taxpayer money that would have been better spent on higher priorities.” –Science Committee Chairman Smith discussing his bill to reauthorize the National Science Foundation

“I am also adamantly opposed to the sharp budget cuts for the social sciences and the geosciences. There is no legitimate scientific reason for these cuts. These are politically motivated cuts to appease a conservative ideology that doesn’t believe in certain kinds of science, and I cannot support them.” – House Science Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)

“There is not enough to go around.” – OSTP Director Holdren on funding for NASA’s programs

“This subcommittee is a big supporter of basic research.” – House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA)

“They are catching up.” – National Science Board Chairman Dan Arvizu describing China’s investment in R&D

“The challenge you’ll be facing this afternoon is . . . to explain to this Subcommittee, populated as it is with non-scientists like myself, why investing in your programs is a good use of taxpayer dollars.  . . .  as budgets continue to be constrained, you and your colleagues will have to work even harder to find ways to illustrate the importance of your programs as they compete with others for funding.” – House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) to DOE Office of Science Acting Director Patricia Dehmer

“It is possible for that project to turn around.” – Office of Science Acting Director Dehmer on ITER’s management

“Climate change and preparing for its impact is one of the greatest challenges this nation faces.” - Michael Boots, Acting Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality

“The Administration continues to push an asteroid retrieval mission on NASA without any connection to a larger exploration roadmap and absent support from the scientific community or NASA’s own advisory bodies.  It is a mission without a realistic budget, without a destination and without a certain launch date.” – Science Committee Chairman Smith

“This agreement represents this Subcommittee’s commitment to our nation’s leadership in space and a secure future for NASA. Finding bipartisan agreement in an austere budget environment is never an easy task, and our work is not done. I feel this is good first step.” – House Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) on NASA reauthorization bill

“You’ve got no better friends in Congress than on this subcommittee devoted to you and going to do everything we can to support you. . . . We work arm in arm to do everything we can to give you the support you need. . . .” – House appropriator John Culberson (R-TX) to NASA Administrator Bolden

“In short, the Department and Nation are at a strategic crossroads -- the funds available to the Department (and national security infrastructure in general) are decreasing, while the complexity and depth of the national security challenges are growing. The world we live in is an uncertain place.”  - Alan Shaffer, Principal Deputy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Defense Research and Engineering

“We see NIST . . . [as] one of the greatest, and yet most undervalued agencies in the federal government.” - Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

“Nothing is more crucial to preserving that role than adequate funding for fundamental and applied scientific research. The recent advances in cosmology are just one of many examples of the breadth of intellectual capital and state-of-the-art technology that the U.S. currently possesses.” – Rep. Foster

“The early reviews of your tenure as secretary have been very, very favorable.” – House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

“I hope you can share your views of whether you think the project management problems at ITER can be fixed and whether the United States should continue to fund ITER given the cost increases and higher scientific priorities. Actually, this may be an opportunity to experience the power of the purse.” – Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to senior DOE official

“Unfortunately, the unmistakable conclusion of our fact-finding is that as implemented the NNSA experiment involving creation of a semi-autonomous organization has failed.”  - Norman Augustine on the National Nuclear Security Administration

“Budgets really are about choices.  And the choice here is between fully funding the [commercial crew program] request to bring space launches back to American soil or continuing to send millions to the Russians [for Soyuz transportation to the space station.]  It’s really that simple.” – MASA Administrator Charles Bolden

 “Why you all shouldn’t be fired?” -  Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) criticizing NNSA’s request to pause construction of the MOX facility

“Finding other sentient life in the universe would be the most significant discovery in human history.” – Science Committee Chairman Smith

“With increased funding comes increased responsibility.  I expect the NSF to follow through on the commitments it has made to the committee to increase accountability and transparency in its grant decision making.  No funny grants is what I am trying to say.  The new director must take every necessary step to ensure that research grants are scientifically meritorious, that funding allocations reflect national priorities and that the taxpayer investments in science are being used wisely.”  - House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Wolf describing his FY 2015 bill

“This bill would cut critical investments that are needed for ongoing climate research, and failing to provide the resources necessary to study our changing climate won’t make the problem go away; it will just make it harder to predict and more difficult to understand.  Denial is the result of ignorance and only deepens our ignorance.  We need to support the science behind climate change.  We need to develop policies that would help us mitigate and adapt to the threats of climate change.” – Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) on FY 2015 NOAA funding bill

“As a result of sequestration in FY 2013, we canceled or delayed or re-scoped over 100 contracts, resulting in a cost and extended technology development schedule, ultimately delaying improved capabilities to the war fighter.” - David Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering

“Everyone should be listened to, but in the end governments have to act on evidence that the large majority of the scientific community believes while not dismissing the fringes.” - Michael Oppenheimer, Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University at a hearing on global climate change

“Researchers spend 42 percent of their application time on meeting administrative requirements.  That is a massive drain on researchers’ time and resources, and means they are spending that much less time on conducting active research, which is their primary objective.” – House Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-GA)

“Fusion energy is the sort of high-risk, high-reward research that will benefit future generations if we are bold enough to pursue it.” -  House Science Committee Chairman Smith

“Companies depend on a continuous stream of new scientific discoveries and early-stage technologies that flow from the federal government’s investments in research.”  - Neal Lane, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University

“It is time to get America into the game.” - Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) describing his bill to encourage US production of energy critical elements

“While earthquakes are inevitable, their consequences are not, and there is much that we can do as a Nation to improve public safety and our resilience to earthquakes and related hazards.” – David Applegate, Associate Director for Natural Hazards, U.S. Geological Survey

“There is great unease across the planetary community about the future of the United States solar system exploration program.”  -  Mark Sykes, CEO and Director of the Planetary Science Institute

“. . . a lot of venom flowing on both sides of this issue.” – House Science Committee member during a hearing on global climate change

“The science is clear.  The risks are clear.  And the high costs of climate inaction are clear.  We must act.” -  Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation


Note: Some selections are from transcripts prepared by and used with the permission of CQ Roll Call.