White House senior science advisor John Holdren appeared before the House Science Committee for a hearing last week. During the hearing, committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) voiced his disapproval of Holdren and the Obama administration's use of taxpayer money to fund certain research projects.
Smith alleged that many of these research projects, including “$700,000 on a climate change musical," were unusual and unnecessary.
Other projects Smith called into question include “$15,000 to study fishing practices around Lake Victoria in Africa,” “$340,000 to examine the ‘ecological consequences of early human fires in New Zealand,” “200,000 for a three-year study of the Bronze Age around the Mediterranean,” “$50,000 to survey archived 17th Century lawsuits in Peru,” and “$20,000 to look at the causes of stress in Bolivia,” the Daily Caller reports.
Smith’s main criticism was directed towards President Obama’s decision to focus the science budget on issues involving climate change.
“Unfortunately, this Administration’s science budget focuses, in my view, far too much money, time and effort on alarmist predictions of climate change. For example, the Administration tried to link hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts to climate change. Yet even the Administration’s own scientists contradicted the president,” Smith said.
Holdren responded to the criticism.
“The Obama Administration recognizes that leadership across the frontiers of scientific knowledge is not merely a cultural tradition of our Nation; it is an economic, environmental, and national-security imperative. This Administration is committed to ensuring that America remains at the epicenter of the global revolution in scientific research and technological innovation,” Holdren said.
Tension between members of the House and members of the federal government regarding budgetary issues is nothing new. It’s always difficult to agree which projects serve the greater interest of the nation and should be funded, especially when there is a limited supply of money to be allocated. That’s the message Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) emphasized during her opening statement at the hearing.
“The truth is we all have things to be concerned about in this budget, but the root of the problem is that there isn’t enough money to go around to adequately fund all of our priorities,” Johnson said, according to the American Institute of Physics.