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More Discussion of the Coburn Amendment, and What To Do Now

- March 26, 2013

Following on Henry’s piece and round-up of links about the Coburn amendment, here is some more of what has been written:

* Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), who has a Ph.D. in political science, defends the NSF political science program on the floor.

* Scott Jaschik sums up some of the debate within political science about how to respond.

* John Patty says that the amendment may, ironically, help political scientists just get back to work.

* Seth Masket lauds four examples of federally funded political science.

* Jon Bernstein sees one advantage that political scientists have as lobbyists.

* Jennifer Victor outlines what the lobbying strategy should be.

* Bryan Jones: “Political science, at its empirical best, brings the opportunity for transparency and accountability in a way not possible in a political world characterized by a cacophony of opinions and demands.” Via email, he adds:

bq. We have not been particularly good at making our case, and it is time that we did.  Your senators should hear from you.  In making the case for taking the Coburn provision out of the FY 2014 budget, I suggest you remember the following:

bq. First, the amendment’s sponsor, Senator Coburn,  is an exceptionally able senator who has great admiration for fact-based analysis of government programs.  He uses his staff to produce a series of excellent oversight reports.  He is just wrong on this, and his comments on the floor and for the Congressional Record do not reflect his normally high standards for assessing waste and mis-prioritization in government programs.

bq. Second, this was a bi-partisan mugging.  While a Republican sponsored the amendment, the Democratic leadership decided that we were to be their sacrificial lamb.  The amendment won on a voice vote, with the approval of the Democratic floor manager, Sen Barbara Mikulski, and no Democrat called for a recorded vote (ensuring that we don’t know who to hold accountable for this).