Science is important to the future health and well being of the nation, according to leaders in Congress. Despite these repeated claims, however, only a handful of members of Congress have opted to respond to questions about science policy. ScienceDebate.org, a collaborative initiative that aims to elevate the role of science in political campaigns, posed eight questions about federal support for research, science education, climate change, and other issues to congressional leaders. To date, only 9 of 33 congressional committee leaders have responded.
Although few members of Congress have responded, the answers received reflect bipartisan support for research and science education. All of the respondents recognized the importance of science to past and future U.S. economic growth, and many called for continued investments in science by the federal government. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, said: “For the sake of the nation’s health as well our economic future, we simply cannot afford to lose our emphasis on research.” Others saw a need for the government to refocus its support on basic research, rather than late-stage development.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education was another issue with universal support. Lawmakers differed, however, in their beliefs on the role that the federal government should play in improving STEM education; a few politicians saw the issue as one best addressed by state and local governments.
Read the responses at http://www.sciencedebate.org/congress12/.
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