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Politics and Science

The American people depend upon federal agencies to develop science-based policies that protect the nation’s health and welfare. Recently, however, leading scientific journals have begun to question whether scientific integrity at federal agencies has been sacrificed to further a political and ideological agenda.

At the request of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, the Democratic staff of the Government Reform Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives assessed the treatment of science and scientists by the Bush Administration.

Latest News

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Committee Report: White House Engaged in Systematic Effort to Manipulate Climate Change Science

The Oversight Committee approved a report that concludes that the Bush Administration has censored climate change scientists, edited climate change reports, and misled policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rep. Waxman to Introduce the Surgeon General Independence Act

Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman announced his plans to introduce legislation to protect the Surgeon General from political interference. On Tuesday, the Oversight Committee held a hearing at which three former Surgeons General testified regarding the damage the political interference has done to the ability of the Surgeon General to speak openly and honestly with the American public about threats to public health.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Chairman Waxman Requests Documents Related to Political Interference with the Surgeon General’s Office

Chairman Waxman writes to Secretary Leavitt requesting documents related to political interference with the work of the Office of the Surgeon General. Former Surgeon General Carmona testified before the Oversight Committee on July 10 that political appointees edited his public remarks, blocked him from developing or issuing several reports or calls to action, and denied travel requests on political grounds.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Committee Holds Surgeon General Hearing

The Committee hearing examined evidence of politicization of the Office of the Surgeon General. Three former Surgeons General – [insert names] – testified.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rep. Waxman Supports Stem Cell Research

Rep. Waxman's floor statement supporting H.R. 3, on stem cell research.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rep. Waxman Commends Royal Society for Efforts Against Scientific Misinformation

Rep. Waxman commends the Royal Society for its efforts to persuade ExxonMobil to cease funding organizations that spread misinformation on global warming. He shares a document that the ExxonMobil-funded American Petroleum Institute sent to misinform Members of Congress about the validity of certain global warming scientific studies.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rep. Waxman Releases Internal Commerce Department E-Mails on Climate Change

Rep. Waxman requests Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez explain emails that appear to show that his office denied a media request to interview a NOAA scientist who had concluded that global warming may lead to more dangerous hurricanes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rep. Waxman Inquires About Omission of Evolutionary Biology from Federal Grant Program

Rep. Waxman asks for details regarding the exclusion of evolutionary biology, a core component of the biological sciences, from the eligibility rules for the Department of Education's new "National Smart Grant" program.

Friday, July 21, 2006

FDA Scientists Disclose Political Interference within the Agency

Rep. Waxman writes Secretary Leavitt about a survey that reveals that many FDA scientists have been asked "to provide incomplete, inaccurate or misleading information" to the public and elected officials.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Committee Requests Bush Administration Climate Change Documents

In a letter to the President's Council on Environmental Quality, Ranking Member Waxman and Chairman Davis request documents related to CEQ’s review and editing of government reports on global warming.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Bush Administration Is Undermining International Needle Exchange Efforts

Reps. Waxman and Cummings write to Secretary of State Rice expressing concern that the Administration has presented “a distorted picture of the science” to European Union officials on the effectiveness of needle-exchange program in reducing the spread of AIDS.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

FDA’s “Unusual” Review of Plan B's Application for Over-the-Counter Sales

In its review of whether emergency contraception should be approved for over-the-counter sales, FDA diverged sharply from usual agency procedures and overrode the recommendations of agency scientists.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Rep. Waxman Requests Hearing on FDA's Plan B Decision

Rep. Waxman writes to Chairman Davis asking for hearings on "an egregious example of the politicization of science" -- the decision by FDA to block over-the-counter sales of Plan B, the emergency contraceptive.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Details of FDA Decision on Plan B Revealed

A new GAO report finds that FDA's denial of Plan B emergency contraception diverged sharply from usual agency procedures and overrode the recommendations of agency scientists. In a letter to HHS Secretary Leavitt, Rep. Waxman and 17 other members deplore the FDA decision and question why former FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan did not respond to GAO’s questions, why FDA could not provide written communication or emails from Dr. McClellan's office, and whether the agency is violating federal records management laws.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Waxman, Durbin Urge Conference Committee to Protect Scientific Research from Cronyism

Rep. Waxman, Sen. Durbin, and more than thirty Members of Congress today urged the Conferees on the FY 2006 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill to include in the final version of the legislation strong provisions to protect federal science from inappropriate political influence.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Politicization of Emergency Contraception

Rep. Waxman releases a Fact Sheet on FDA's rejection of over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception drug Plan B.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Experts: HHS Teen Health Website Inaccurate and Misleading

Update: In response to the expert reviews commissioned by Rep. Waxman, the Senate Appropriations Committee directed HHS to review the website, correct erroneous content, and to include more information about risks associated with alcohol and tobacco use.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Rep. Waxman Questions Treatment of Climate Scientists

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton has opened an investigation into prominent experts on global warming, an effort that Rep. Waxman writes "some may interpret ... as a transparent effort to bully and harass" the scientists.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bush Administration Politicized Climate Change Science

Reps. Waxman and Olver write to colleagues about the Bush Administration's tampering with climate change science.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bush Administration Dishonest About Stem Cell Research

Reps. Waxman and Slaughter write to colleagues about the Bush Administration's spurious claims about stem cell research.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

GAO Asked to Investigate White House Interference with Climate Change Reports

Rep. Waxman and Sen. Kerry ask GAO to look into a recent whistleblower report that former oil industry lobbyist Phillip A. Cooney altered government scientific reports on global warming and that the "White House so successfully politicized the science program that" it became necessary for the whistleblower to resign.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

HHS Urged to Block Interference on HPV Research

In light of recent letters sent to HHS from two Senators, two House members, and thirteen organizations, Reps. Waxman and Lee and urge the Department to block political interference with the public health experts working on the human papillomavirus.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Bill Would Restore Scientific Integrity to Research and Policymaking

Reps. Waxman and Gordon introduce H.R. 839, legislation to protect federal science from political interference. The bill includes bars on manipulating science, suppressing research, and using political litmus tests to appoint members of scientific advisory committees.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Scientists Decry Political Interference

Reps. Waxman and Rahall write Interior Secretary Norton about new survey results that describe pervasive politicization of FWS’s scientific mission.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Programs Teach False And Misleading Information

A report released by Rep. Waxman shows that many federally funded abstinence-only education programs use curricula that distort information about the effectiveness of contraceptives, misrepresent the risks of abortion, blur religion and science, treat stereotypes about girls and boys as scientific fact, and contain basic scientific errors.

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