Chairman Smith Questions President’s Science Advisor on R&D Priorities

Apr 17, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today questioned Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, on the President’s research priorities.

Chairman Smith: “The budget choices for federal R&D investments we choose will affect research and technology for many decades to come. We have challenges before us—technological, scientific and budgetary—but we will face them with the same determination Americans have in our past.  It is less a matter of dollars and cents, but more about finding common sense solutions.”

Chairman Smith questioned Dr. Holdren on a number of issues, including the scientific underpinnings of the administration’s proposal for NASA to capture an asteroid and drag it into the Moon’s orbit. He also asked about taxpayer funding for social science and political science studies at the National Science Foundation, and how we can better prioritize research spending.

Dr. Holdren cautioned against Congress micromanaging how agencies such as NSF award research grants.  But he also conceded that there is “room for improvement” in how NSF prioritizes research initiatives based on potential value to the national interest.