Potentially billions for science
Certainly no one is happy that the U.S. economy is in such dire straits that policymakers are talking about a stimulus plan that could cost more than $500 billion. But an unintended benefit for Barack Obama is that the bill gives him a chance to make good on a number of his more expensive campaign promises.
Obama discussed the broad outline of his hopes for the bill in a speech at George Mason University on Jan. 8, 2009.
"It is not just another public-works program," Obama said. "It's a plan that recognizes both the paradox and the promise of this moment — the fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work even as all around the country there's so much work to be done. That's why we'll invest in priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century."
Democrats in the U.S. House released a broad outline of what they hope to include in the 2009 stimulus bill and it contained many ideas Obama promised during the campaign, including a big chunk for basic research.
We're not sure how far the new proposal goes toward doubling federal funding for basic research. But it directs $10 billion toward science, including $2.5 billion for basic research. That's a start. And it's enough for us to move the Obameter from No Action to In the Works.
New York Times, Barack Obama speech on the economy at George Mason University , Jan. 8, 2009