The Personal Blog of Stephen Sekula

Roll Call!

This morning I had a short chat with a student at SLAC. During the chat, it was mentioned that certain Presidential candidates didn’t event vote on the omnibus bill. This got me thinking about who did and who did not vote for it, and about who voted for and agaist. So, I hit the Library of Congress legislation search engine (THOMAS) and got the data [1] [2].

Let’s pick out some interesting facts. Starting with the Senate – the smaller of the two bodies – we make some interesting observations:

  • None of the Presidential candidates who are also Senators voted: Clinton, Obama, Dodd, Biden, McCain. Personally, I’ll take this as a vote against science by all of these candidates. No, it’s not rational – I understand that this was a huge all-or-nothing bill. But how can these people sit in front of us and claim to be worthy of higher office when they cannot even fulfill their current legislative duties on such a critical matter?
  • Those who voted against the measure (17) were:
    Allard (R-CO)
    Barrasso (R-WY)
    Bayh (D-IN)
    Burr (R-NC)
    Chambliss (R-GA)
    Coburn (R-OK)
    Crapo (R-ID)
    DeMint (R-SC)
    Ensign (R-NV)
    Enzi (R-WY)
    Feingold (D-WI)
    Graham (R-SC)
    Hagel (R-NE)
    Inhofe (R-OK)
    Isakson (R-GA)
    McCaskill (D-MO)
    Voinovich (R-OH)

I am pleased to see one of my perennial favorites, Feingold, stand against this. He probably didn’t do it for science, but he did it.

  • Of the members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, all but one voted for the bill. Only Wayne Allard voted against it. This is the same committee that up until the omnibus process put into the appropriations bill an increase of 18% for the Office of Science.
  • All members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, and Justice voted for the bill.
  • Senator Feinstein of California was not even present for the vote.

Turning to the more populous House, we can try to tease out similar facts:

  • There were 154 “nays”. Among them were Congresswoman Biggert, whose district include Argonne National Lab; Congressman Ehlers, a physicist by training;
  • Interestingly, Congresswoman Eshoo – in whose district SLAC is located – voted for it.
  • Of the members of the House Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, all the Democrats voted for the bill, except Congresswoman Hooley who didn’t vote at all; all but one of the Republicans voted against it.
  • Of the members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, all but two (both Republicans) voted for the bill. This is the same group of people that originally committed to an 18% increase for the Office of Science.
  • Of the members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and Commerce, all Democrats voted for the bill; all but one Republican voted against it. Interestingly, Congressman Honda and Congressman Schiff, strong supporters of basic research funding in the past, were among those Democrats who helped pass it.
  • Congressman Kucinich and Congressman Tancredo voted against it; so far, the only Presidential candidates to vote AT ALL, and both opposed it.
  • Congressman Holt, also a physicist by training,voted for the bill.

[1] Senate Roll Call
[2] House Roll Call

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