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Coburn Amendment Fails

- November 6, 2009

Amendment 2631 — “To redirect funding of the National Science Foundation toward practical scientific research” — was voted down yesterday by a 62-36 vote. More information is at Thomas. Senators Byrd and Landrieu did not vote.

The vote was largely along party lines. Here are those Senators who voted across party lines:

Democrats supporting the amendment: Baucus, Bayh, McCaskill, Nelson, Webb

Republicans opposing the amendment: Alexander, Bond, Burr, Cochran, Collins, Cornyn, Gregg, Johanns, Snowe

Here is the page of the Congressional Record with the floor discussion. As far as I can tell, Barbara Mikulski is the only Senator who spoke on the amendment yesterday. She said:

bq. Mr. President, I vigorously and unabashedly oppose the Coburn amendment. It eliminates not only the dollars from the science program at the National Science Foundation, it specifically targets the $9 million cut in the area of funding for research by political scientists.

bq. The very first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for economics ever has received 28 awards from the National Science Foundation, the science program offered to political science professors. It shows what groundbreaking work can be done.

bq. This amendment is an attack on science. It is an attack on academia. We need full funding to keep America innovative, and I urge my colleagues to vote no on this amendment.

I do not yet see any news stories that offer much detail. I welcome speculation on any individual member’s motives.