Senate Democrats

Democrats Unveil Initiative to Keep Science Out of Politics

Senators join Whistleblower in unveiling amendment to put science first

Washington, DC - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Senator Chuck Schumer today joined whistleblower Rick Piltz to unveil the Senate Democrats’ latest effort to keep politics out of science. Piltz resigned as senior associate in the office that coordinates government climate research in March and blew the whistle on the Bush administration’s attempt to edit scientific reports on global warming.

Senators Reid and Schumer noted that the White House’s attempt to inject politics into scientific climate research represents the latest example of Republicans putting their partisan agenda ahead of the American people.

“Americans are sick and tired of seeing their priorities take a backseat to Republican ideology,” said Reid. “Instead of addressing global warming, Republicans had a White House aide – who has since taken a job at Exxon – revise scientific reports, so the reports would match the President’s political agenda. It’s time the issues the American people care about are addressed head on. That’s why Democrats are committed to reform and to preventing Republicans from abusing their power and rewriting science.”

Senators Reid and Schumer announced today that Senate Democrats will introduce an amendment this week designed to prevent lawmakers from rewriting science to suit their political needs.

“This Administration has allowed the special interests to trump the public interest time and time again. From energy policy to judicial and diplomatic nominations — politics comes first — consultation, common sense, and even scientific evidence come last,” Schumer said.

Introduced by Senator Lautenberg, the amendment will ensure that the American people receive unedited climate change science-related government reports once they are reviewed and cleared by scientists. If political appointees edit such reports, the amendment will stipulate that Congress must be notified and that the unedited version of the report must be made available on the agency’s website.

Reid and Schumer also urged their Republican colleagues to put politics aside and join Democrats in the common-sense center to get things done for the American people.

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Senator Harry Reid’s Remarks

As prepared for delivery:

President Bush and Washington Republicans have a simple motto. It’s “partisanship.”

It doesn’t matter what they’re dealing with. It could be the Constitution. It could be the problems of the American people. It could even be scientific fact. It does not matter. Republican leaders put their partisan agenda first.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen them live up to this creed time and time again.

Look at What They Choose to Focus On: At a time when Americans are raising serious concerns about Iraq, about our progress in the War on Terror, about abuse of prisoners and about issues here at home, Republicans spent all weekend trying to change the subject and launch partisan attacks.

Look at the Bolton Debate: They’ve put partisanship ahead of the Constitution and the Senate’s right to receive information from the Executive Branch.

Look at How They Handle Science: Instead of addressing global warming, they had a White House senior advisor – who has since taken a job at Exxon, the largest oil company in the world – revise scientific reports, so the reports would match the President’s political agenda.

The Republican record is clear: partisanship is priority number one.

Senate Democrats have a very different view. We believe partisanship should never trump science.

We believe it’s time for reform. And time the American people’s issues were addressed head on.

That’s why – when we are dealing with serious issues like global warming – we’re going to prevent Republicans from abusing their power and rewriting science.

– Though the amendment we’re announcing today, we’re going to ensure that when climate change science-related government reports are reviewed and cleared by scientists, that the American people receive that information directly and unedited.

– And if political appointees further edit such a report, then we’re going to make sure the unedited version is available on the agency’s website and that Congress is notified.

Americans are sick and tired of seeing their priorities take a backseat to Republican ideology.

Today, I call on my Republican colleagues to join Democrats in reforming our government and putting people first. Not just on science, but on everything we do in Washington – including this week’s energy debate.

We have a bipartisan bill that we hope to continue to improve on the floor.

Let’s put partisan politics aside and work from the common-sense center on behalf of the American people.

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