The 114th Congress (spanning 2015-2017)

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There are worse problems than setting science policy which need to be tackled in the new congress. Or is 'science policy' a code name for funding?

In most cases, it seems that way. A fair few researchers at the University I'm attending now are afraid that the Congress after next January will essentially be run by clones of former Senator Proxmire on steroids. How reasonable their fears are, I don't know. As someone going to grad school in a few years, I'm certainly hoping they're unfounded.
 
  • #27
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In most cases, it seems that way. A fair few researchers at the University I'm attending now are afraid that the Congress after next January will essentially be run by clones of former Senator Proxmire on steroids. How reasonable their fears are, I don't know. As someone going to grad school in a few years, I'm certainly hoping they're unfounded.

The best we could hope for is that the Republicans in both houses actually understand that scientific research is essential to long-term economic growth...

But I will have to accept that the Senate and the House are inter-dependent on most issues under Congressional jurisdiction. Will the Senate now being under Republican control actually help solve gridlock problems for the next two years?

My home country has been incompetent as far as scientific policy is concerned but at least there isn't as much political gridlock in general.
 
  • #28
mheslep
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The sequestration...
... was proposed by the White House.
 
  • #29
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In most cases, it seems that way. A fair few researchers at the University I'm attending now are afraid that the Congress after next January will essentially be run by clones of former Senator Proxmire on steroids. How reasonable their fears are, I don't know. As someone going to grad school in a few years, I'm certainly hoping they're unfounded.

It's not clear what your point is. The late William Proxmire has not been a senator since he retired in 1989, and when he was in the Senate, he was a Democrat. For you folks in Rio Linda, that's a whole quarter century (25 years).

In the outgoing congress, only twelve senators had enough seniority to have even served with Proxmire.
 
  • #30
Vanadium 50
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The late William Proxmire has not been a senator since he retired in 1989, and when he was in the Senate, he was a Democrat

Thank you. A lot of people here seem to have picked "Team R" or "Team D" and are ascribing viewpoints to the other party that the members don't have. If one looks at the House and President's budgets, one will see that HEP (the part I am most familiar with) is much higher in the Republican-controlled House. My experience on the Hill, talking to Congressmen and staffers has been that every single Republican has been very supportive of basic science.

I would encourage everyone to learn what each politician's positions actually are, and not guess at it based on the politician's views on other issues.
 
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  • #31
It's not clear what your point is. The late William Proxmire has not been a senator since he retired in 1989, and when he was in the Senate, he was a Democrat. For you folks in Rio Linda, that's a whole quarter century (25 years).

In the outgoing congress, only twelve senators had enough seniority to have even served with Proxmire.

I probably should have been more clear. I know that he was a Democrat, and that he's been retired for 25 years (hence "former Senator"), and dead for 9. His name was the one I heard used as a comparison for reference, since he was famous for opposing funding for scientific research when he couldn't see an immediate application for it. I've overheard fears that the new Senate is going to be run by a party composed of people with the same basic attitude as Proxmire toward research.

I'm only an undergrad, and not well versed in the history just yet, so I don't know whether those fears are accurate, or overblown. Vanadium 50 above indicates that for HEP, those fears would not be justified, which is a bit of a relief. I'll have to look into it for Astrophysics, since that's what I'm planning to get my Ph.D in.
 
  • #32
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(snip)(snip) ... not well versed in the history just yet, so I don't know whether those fears are accurate, or overblown.(snip)

Quick (and very dirty) history lesson: first era of federal funding (1776 to Pearl Harbor), there wasn't any to speak of; second era (WW II, Manhattan Project, and Cold War), blank checks for just about anything to do with defense, reasonable pickings elsewhere, but it involved a lot of "dumpster diving;" third era (debt balloon from Reagan or Bush 41 to present), SCSC got chopped (there were some materials problems that showed up at Frac & Def , Commerce Labs in Boulder, so maybe a good thing), some other big ticket items, lot of belt tightening; fourth era (114th on), money is getting tight, overhead (a dirty word in the grant and funding business) has been exploding, and long-term funding is getting really tough to get and hang on to (people get half and three quarters of the way complete on a five year project and get rugs yanked from under them).

Those who are more up to date will please correct me.
 
  • #33
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Tensions flare between Senate Democrats, White House
http://news.yahoo.com/tensions-flare-between-senate-democrats-white-house-220849126.html
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Criticism of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law by a top Senate Democrat this week laid bare post-election tensions that could pose challenges for the party in upcoming fights with Republicans over taxes, energy and immigration.

In a high-profile speech on Tuesday dissecting Democrats' losses in this month's midterm elections, Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, listed "a cascade of issues" botched by the White House, starting with Obama's push for healthcare reforms soon after he took office in 2009.
Well, Congress is supposed to be independent of the president - and vice versa.
 
  • #34
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Would not have predicted it --- kinda figured they were going to circle the wagons and go down together.
 
  • #35
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One lesson from the past election is that President Obama does not deliver the votes when he is not on the ticket. Given that, I am not at all surprised that there are congressmen distancing themselves from the President.
 
  • #36
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I see Schumer is up for election in 16, when the President will still be in office giving speeches, issuing orders, and by that time pardoning whomever.
 
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I would like to see less of this - Senate Democrats muscle big Obama donors into ambassadorships
Given the popularity of the U.S. around the world, the possibilities for "poetic justice" are intriguing. Might not be as bad an idea as it first appears. Thin the herd, so to speak.
But then not so fast - Senators renew push on military sexual assault cases
"Tempest in a teapot?" DoD bashing/social overhead/engineering programs/legislation have been, with the exception of HST's integration order, disasters. Correcting (mis)management problems from the bottom up rather than top down just doesn't work. Breaks morale, aggravates target problems, in a vicious circle.
 
  • #40
lisab
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I would like to see less of this - Senate Democrats muscle big Obama donors into ambassadorships

That's been done for a long, long time. Usually the appointments are to countries like France, Spain, Italy - places with whom we have very stable relations. And the weather's nice, the electricity is always on, and the food is good :oldeyes:.

Places that require diplomatic "heavy lifting" don't usually get this kind of appointee.

Btw this practice really irks career Foreign Service officers, as you might imagine (my step-father worked in the State Department).
 
  • #41
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There is sort of a gentlemen's agreement that 70% of the Ambassadorial appointments are career foreign service, and 30% can be political. The political category includes, shall we say "friends of the party", but also people who have held senior positions in the US government in the past: John Huntsman was a governor, Carole Moseley Braun was a senator, Gary Locke was Secretary of Commerce for example.

What irks the career foreign service is that a) there are more political appointees than in the past, b) of those, more are fundraisers than public servants, and c) several of the fundraisers have embarrassed themselves in front of the Senate.
 
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  • #42
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Hopefully, they'll start passing budgets rather than continuing resolutions.
On the ticker just now, "Two day extension to prevent government shutdown." Still 113th, but methinks it bodes ill for 114th.
 
  • #43
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Apparently, U.S. Representative Michael Grimm of New York may be missing from next year's roster. Grimm is expected to plead guilty on Tuesday to resolve federal tax charges, and charges of fraud, perjury and conspiracy stemming from a Manhattan health food restaurant he formerly co-owned, Healthalicious.

http://news.yahoo.com/u-rep-grimm-plead-guilty-tax-fraud-case-203137180.html
 
  • #44
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Five ways to know you’re speaking to white supremacists
And other useful tips for Steve Scalise and budding politicians everywhere (somewhat tongue in cheek)
http://news.yahoo.com/five-ways-to-know-you-re-speaking-to-white-supremacists-004845526.html

Apparently Steve Scalise, House majority whip, made a speech at a conference of a white supremacist group. He claims not to remember much about it. I would hope that someone in a such a high position would be better informed of groups to whom him or her is speaking.
 
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  • #45
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Ted Cruz appointed to head of Space, Science, and Competitiveness subcommittee in congress:

http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/11/7528337/senator-ted-cruz-nasa-subcommittee

I don't even care about his stance on cutbacks, but it's very clear to me from this that whoever is in charge in the republican party has it out for science that they don't agree with (namely global warming). I see this appointment as a bad sign that we're probably in for rough 8-or-so years of republican control of science and technology in the US.
 
  • #46
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I am an anti-progressive conservative ultimately skeptical of science by consensus. I am guided by a careful and thorough reading of Karl Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery, that advanced falsificationism, and his The Open Society and Its Enemies (your hero George Soros' principal handbook) that taught the fallacy of the dialectic and lead to The Poverty of Historicism.
 
  • #47
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I am an anti-progressive conservative ultimately skeptical of science by consensus. I am guided by a careful and thorough reading of Karl Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery, that advanced falsificationism, and his The Open Society and Its Enemies (your hero George Soros' principal handbook) that taught the fallacy of the dialectic and lead to The Poverty of Historicism.
Well, that's nice for you but what does that have to do with this this post?
 
  • #48
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Perhaps he'll learn something from NASA.
 
  • #49
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Ted Cruz appointed to head of Space, Science, and Competitiveness subcommittee in congress:

http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/11/7528337/senator-ted-cruz-nasa-subcommittee

I don't even care about his stance on cutbacks, but it's very clear to me from this that whoever is in charge in the republican party has it out for science that they don't agree with (namely global warming). I see this appointment as a bad sign that we're probably in for rough 8-or-so years of republican control of science and technology in the US.

I agree.
 
  • #50
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Ted Cruz appointed to head of Space, Science, and Competitiveness subcommittee in congress:

http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/11/7528337/senator-ted-cruz-nasa-subcommittee

I don't even care about his stance on cutbacks, but it's very clear to me from this that whoever is in charge in the republican party has it out for science that they don't agree with (namely global warming). I see this appointment as a bad sign that we're probably in for rough 8-or-so years of republican control of science and technology in the US.
I'm not sure why everybody is crying in their beer.

Science is not run from a congressional committee on Capitol Hill. Science is what it is regardless of whether Ted Cruz is a committee chairman, or he's sweeping up cigarette butts in a basement somewhere. If there's something to global warming, the causes and effects are going to be borne out by scientific experiment, not in some report issued by a congressional committee.

It's also not clear what you mean by "rough 8-or-so years of republican control of science and technology in the US." S & T are not controlled by Republicans or Democrats, otherwise scientific findings would be rather suspect. Also, US congressional elections are held every two years, with all of the lower chamber and one-third of the upper chamber standing for election, and each election brings the possibility, however remote, of a shift in control of one or both houses of congress.
 

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