‘Must understand science’ isn’t part of the job description for House Science Committee

Updated
Photo: AP/Extreme Ice Survey/James Balog
Photo: AP/Extreme Ice Survey/James Balog
James Balog

With Todd Akin out of the House, there is a job opening on the House Science Committee. According to Science Magazine, there are three major contenders vying for the spot:

Rep. Dana Rohrabachrer, R-Calif., who asked at a UN hearing on climate change, “Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?”

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who once said, “I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do.”

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tx., who once attacked major television networks for slanting its coverage of global warming “in favor of global warming alarmists.”

Current Science Committee chairman Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Tx., has served the maximum number of years as leader of the committee, and will be stepping down. Hall was re-elected to the chairman position for the final time in 2010, when Rohrabacher also ran but lost. Rohrabacher has served as chair of the space and aeronautics and energy and environment subcommittees.

Sensenbrenner officially announced his candidacy the day after the election, and Smith announced his candidacy in October.

For those worried about the future of science in the House, it’s worthy to note that the past leadership by Republicans haven’t been any better for the committee. According to Salon:

In 2010, Hall pushed a bill to cut off billions in funding for scientific research and math and science education. He also once said of global warming: “I’m really more fearful of freezing. And I don’t have any science to prove that. But we have a lot of science that tells us they’re not basing it on real scientific facts.”


Chris Matthews summed it all up on Tuesday’s Hardball: ”Regardless of which of the bunch gets the chairmanship, things are evidently not looking up for the Science Committee.”

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'Must understand science' isn't part of the job description for House Science Committee

Updated