Senate Democrats

Reid Expresses Deep Concern Over the Bush Administration’s Out of Touch Priorities

Reid Calls on the President to Put the American People Ahead of Politics

Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement upon news that the Bush administration edited climate change reports.

Washington, D.C. – “I am deeply concerned to learn that the White House has once again put its partisan agenda ahead of the needs of the American people. By repeatedly editing government documents on global warming to cater to the special interests, the Bush administration has once again shown that it will abuse its power by any means necessary.

“What concerns me most is the pattern of behavior this incident points to. From putting radical ideology ahead of scientific reasoning on stem cell research to the politicization of the FDA and the falsification of data and records regarding the safety of Yucca Mountain, the Bush administration has shown a brazen disregard for sound science. The American people are entitled to expect that their elected officials would allow independent experts and scientific research be left untainted by political interests.

“It is time for the Republicans and the President to stop their abuse of power and focus on the needs of American people. Democrats believe it is time to cleanse Washington and restore the commonsense center to fight for the priorities of American families. By keeping America strong, expanding economic opportunity, making health care more affordable and available, putting America on the path of energy independence and making retirement more secure for all Americans, Democrats are putting the people’s agenda first. We hope the Republicans in Congress and the President will join us in this effort.”



White House Edited Unfavorable Information on Climate Change Out of Official Reports. The New York Times reports today that a Bush Administration official who formerly led the oil industry’s fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in order to minimize the links between emissions and global warming. “In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved.” [New York Times, 6/8/05]

The FDA has Failed to Approve Emergency Contraception for Over-the-Counter Sale Despite the Recommendations of Its Own Advisors. Despite the fact that the FDA’s own advisory panel voted 23 to 4 to support the manufacturer’s application for over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception, the FDA has failed to approve the application. The FDA’s scientific staff also strongly recommended approval of over-the-counter sale. One dissenting member of the advisory board boasted in a sermon that he wrote a memo scuttling the application’s approval, claiming, “God took that information and he used it through this minority report to influence the decision. For only the second time in five decades, the FDA did not abide by its advisory committee opinion, and the measure was rejected.” [Washington Post, 4/7/05; American Health Line, 5/13/05]

George W. Bush Stands in the Way of Important Stem Cell Research. Bush has threatened to veto any bill from Congress providing for research on stem cells. This is despite evidence that research on stem cells offers the potential for important medical breakthroughs. The White House said in a Statement of Administration Policy, “The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 810, which would require Federal taxpayer dollars to be used to encourage the ongoing destruction of nascent human life.” [The New York Times, 5/21/05; White House, 5/24/05]

Scientists and Nobel Laureates Say Bush Administration Has Censored Reports: In late February, more than 60 influential scientists, including more than 20 Nobel laureates, signed a statement saying the administration had disbanded scientific advisory committees, placed unqualified people on other panels and censored reports by others when their scientific conclusions conflicted with administration policies. [New York Times, 3/30/04]

Bush Proposed Cutting Non-Defense Research and Development Programs Across the Board. George Bush has proposed cutting research and development in most non-defense research programs through FY 2009. Bush’s cuts would reduce the National Science Foundation’s budget by 4.7%, the EPA’s research budget by 15% and the Veterans’ Affairs budget by 15.1%. These cuts will stymie important scientific discoveries. [AAAS, AAAS Analysis of the Outyear Projections for R&D in the FY 2005 Budget, 5/7/04]

White House Redacted Global Warming Threat from 2003 EPA Report. The anticipated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report “intended to provide the first comprehensive review of what is known about various environmental problems” with a target release date of June 27, 2003 was greatly redacted by the White House, according to the New York Times, such that “a long section describing risks from rising global temperatures [was] whittled to a few noncommittal paragraphs.” Nowhere to be found were references to studies proving that smokestack and tail-pipe emissions contribute to global warming, which threatens health and ecosystems. [New York Times, 6/19/03]

Federal Study Reporting Harm in Arctic Refuge Drilling Ordered Changed to Reflect Bush Position. Only one week after issuing a report detailing environmental damage that would be caused by oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the US Geological survey issued a second report stating that drilling would have no impact on wildlife. The revised report was “commissioned by Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton almost immediately after the initial report came out,” and “bolsters the Bush administration’s case…” The Washington Post reported, “Interior [Department] sources acknowledged that Norton’s political aides were behind the request…” [Washington Post, 4/7/02; New York Times, 3/30/02]

Removed Safe Sex Information From Government Web Sites: Web sites for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control removed fact sheets on the “effectiveness of condoms” and a sex education program curriculum called “Programs that Work” which focused on HIV and highlighted several proven programs that involve condom use. [Washington Post, 10/22/02]