Senate Defeats Amendment to Eliminate Political Science from National Science Foundation Funding APSA Alerts the Discipline and Responds

UPDATE (Nov. 6): After a cloture vote on November 5, the Senate voted on the Coburn's amendment and soundly defeated it by a margin of 36-62 (see roll call vote). 

APSA responded quickly to a proposal to eliminate funding for political science research at the National Science Foundation (NSF) put forward in early October by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 2847), the main appropriation bill for the NSF.

APSA President Henry Brady wrote a public letter to members of the Senate detailing the value of funded political science research to the nation and the larger scientific enterprise of the country,and stating:

Eliminating political science research from the NSF would deprive the country of knowledge critical for making our own democracy stronger, for understanding the actions of nations around the world, of achieving efficiencies and fairness in our public policies, and of enriching the work of other sciences, physical, biological, social, and economic to address national needs through interdisciplinary partnerships.

APSA alerted association members and individuals within the discipline about the amendment and circulated updates on its status by email, Twitter and Facebook. Members of the discipline responded in a variety of ways and in large numbers through blog posts, direct messages to colleagues, on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and by signing the online petition.

In response to Senator Coburn's presentation of the amendment, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) spoke vigorously on the Senate floor in support of political science research, noting Elinor Ostrom's work, recognized by her recent Nobel Prize, was enabled by the political science program at the NSF.

The association will continue to monitor the status of political science funding at the NSF.

Please direct all inquiries about this to Michael Brintnall at [email protected].


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