Budget Deal Shows That Congress Values Science

Bi-partisan Omnibus Bill Could Be a Turning Point in Correcting for Years of Underinvestment in Earth and Space Science

16 December 2015


Washington, D.C.—The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) Executive Director/CEO Christine McEntee:

“The omnibus funding bill introduced today is a critical first step in recommitting the U.S. to its role as an international leader in scientific innovation.  Science-related agencies will be relieved from the the disruption of damaging cutbacks, program delays, and costly shutdowns once the bill is enacted, allowing them to carry on with their important work.

The bill positions critical agencies such as NASA, NOAA, NSF and USGS to recover from the debilitating impacts of years of underfunding, and removes the threat of reductions in funding for NASA Earth programs recently raised by powerful legislators such as Senator Cruz. Equally important, the bill leaves out many of the troubling riders that appeared in previous versions, including misguided efforts to restrict geoscience funding within the NSF, or the use of climate science by multiple agencies.

In addition, the bill would allow the White House to lift some restrictions on government scientists seeking to travel to science conferences. These meetings, such as AGU’s Fall Meeting, play an important role in the scientific process. Looking to the future, the bill also includes an important new dedicated fund for ocean research and security, and leaves the door open to discretionary funding for the Green Climate Fund committed to in the Paris Agreement.

Investments in Earth and space science are an economic driver that creates jobs, supports global competitiveness and protects public safety. Every day, millions of Americans, and businesses stretching from Wall Street to Main Street, rely on federally-supported science programs. We are encouraged by this bipartisan action that demonstrates recognition of the value of science. However, if we hope to reap the economic and societal benefits scientific innovation can offer, we must view this turning point as a starting point in a long journey to restore U.S. leadership in science.”

The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing nearly 60,000 members in 139 countries. Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.

AGU Contact:

Joan Buhrman: 202-777-7509, 571-213-3812 (c) [email protected]