In DepthU.S. Science Policy

Meet two new science spending cardinals in Congress

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Science  30 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6221, pp. 466
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6221.466

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The November elections have meant new federal lawmakers will be overseeing spending for important slices of the U.S. research pie. That includes two key changes in the House of Representatives: Representative Tom Cole (R–OK) will lead the subcommittee that oversees the budget of the National Institutes of Health, and Representative John Culberson (R–TX) will head the panel responsible for NASA and the National Science Foundation. Cole, who holds a Ph.D. in history, has a reputation as a thoughtful legislator who prefers compromise to ideological purity on contentious issues. Culberson, a lawyer, is simultaneously a staunch advocate for a smaller government and a huge fan of space exploration to distant bodies in search of extraterrestrial life. Science met recently with the two appropriations "cardinals" to discuss their new roles in crafting a budget for the 2016 fiscal year that starts in October.