Diane Feinstein’s Views of NSF Political Science Funding

May 17 '13

A colleague in California sent a letter to both Senators Feinstein and Boxer and received this from Feinstein:

Thank you for writing to express your opposition to Senate Amendment 65 to the fiscal year 2013 continuing appropriations bill.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

I believe that advanced research in the social and natural sciences is the bedrock of American innovation, and I am proud that California and its excellent universities have been a leader in this field.  I also agree that the National Science Foundation (NSF) plays an integral part in promoting scientific research and supporting science education.

On March 13, 2013, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) introduced an amendment (S. Amdt. 65) to the Senate Continuing Resolution that bans the use of National Science Foundation funding for political science projects.  However, it is important to note that this amendment was subsequently modified to allow for political science funding that supports the nation’s economy or is in the interest of national security.  Senator Coburn’s modified amendment was agreed to by a voice vote and included in the final version of the Continuing Resolution, which passed the Senate on March 20, 2013 by a vote of 73-26.  The President signed the bill into law on March 26, 2013 (Public Law 113-6).

I understand you support federal funding of the Political Science Program through the National Science Foundation (NSF).  As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, please know that I have made careful note of your support for this program, and will keep your comments in mind as I work with my colleagues in the Senate to pass appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2014.

Once again, thank you for writing.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841, or visit my website at http://feinstein.senate.gov.  Best regards.

Feinstein doesn’t seem too concerned about the language of the Coburn amendment.  My colleague reports that Boxer’s response was a generic form letter acknowledging the contact but saying nothing specific about the issue of the NSF.  The previous response of Tim Kaine is here, and see also the comments.