News of the WeekU.S. ELECTIONS

Researchers Anxious and on the Defensive After Republican Gains

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Science  12 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6006, pp. 896-897
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6006.896

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Many researchers fear the worst after a Republican resurgence at the polls produced a 25-plus-seat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and loosened the Democrats' grip on the Senate. The 2 November vote ended a 4-year streak of district, state, and national successes by Democrats that paved the way for unprecedented increases in federal research funding. The 112th Congress that will convene in January could be headed down another path. Budget hawks are preparing to reduce overall federal spending, newly elected members are questioning the need to take action against rising levels of greenhouse gases, and advocates for smaller government are eying pieces of the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and even the National Science Foundation. Still, science lobbyists point to some bright spots amid those dark clouds.