Among the hardest hit in the Republicans' plan is the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science, which funds research ranging from particle physics to chemistry and materials science. The Committee aims to slice a whopping $1.1 billion from the $5.12 billion requested by President Barack Obama for the Office of Science's 2011 budget.
"It's devastating," says Pat Clemins, director of the budget and policy programme at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC. "It definitely will affect the ability of the DOE to fill the discovery pipeline."
Look, I know that the deficit is enormous. However, I still cannot get the logic in making these huge cuts on programs that, in the scheme of things, is PUNY in terms of the amount of money allocated to it. Funding for science is an awfully small percentage of the budget when compared to spending for the military, for example. Yet, it is the one getting the brunt of the axe. Why? Well, this response is very telling on how some elected Republicans feel about the importance of science funding:
The difference of opinion on energy-related research spending is likely to remain in the spotlight as both sides dig in their heels. When asked why the DOE Office of Science was cut so much, Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, said, "The chairman was asked to cut $58 billion. He looked at excess, wasteful, duplicative spending. This is one of the choices that he made."
Wasteful, he said. Ignoring the fact that billion of dollars are unaccounted for in Iraq and Afganistan wars that could have easily funded the DOE Office of Science for YEARS, I'd like to know what exactly that is being funded that this person considers as "excess, wasteful, and duplicative".