What: All Issues : Human Rights & Civil Liberties : Freedom of Scientific Inquiry : Reauthorization of the National Science Foundation (H.R. 1867)/Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) amendment to require educational materials on climate change put out by NSF to reflect the "diversity of scientific viewpoints" on whether human activity is responsible for changing weather patterns (2007 house Roll Call 287)
 Who: All Members
[POW!]
 

To find out how your Members of Congress voted on this bill, use the form on the right.

Reauthorization of the National Science Foundation (H.R. 1867)/Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) amendment to require educational materials on climate change put out by NSF to reflect the "diversity of scientific viewpoints" on whether human activity is responsible for changing weather patterns
house Roll Call 287     May 02, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment to legislation reauthorizing the National Science Foundation (NSF), a large federal grant-making agency, at $21 billion through fiscal 2010. Proposed by Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.), the amendment would have required that educational materials on global warming put out by NSF for kindergarten through 12th graders reflect, in Sullivan's words, the "diversity of scientific viewpoints" on the subject.

The amendment was what is known as a second-degree amendment, basically an amendment to an amendment, and sought to modify an amendment proposed by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) that would direct NSF to develop educational materials regarding climate change, climate science and strategies to reduce greenhouse gases for kindergarten through 12th graders. (See Roll Call 288.)

Sullivan asserted that his amendment would have strengthened Honda's proposal (which was subsequently adopted) by ensuring that "children are educated on all aspects of global climate change," including the impact of greenhouse gas reduction strategies on the U.S. economy, energy costs and developing nations. Sullivan said his amendment would ensure children are given a "fair and balanced scientific education."

Many Republicans in Congress question whether human activity is having a significant impact on global weather patterns and the overall warming of the planet. They have continually presented the science as undecided, despite the fact that the vast majority of climate scientists and national and international scientific agencies have asserted that human activity, specifically the production of greenhouse gases from combustion, are having a detrimental effect on global weather patterns and the ability of the planet to sustain the almost 7 billion people who live on it.

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) said that Sullivan's amendment erroneously suggested that "there is an equal weight of evidence against that perspective as there is in favor of it," an assertion that Baird said is contradicted by scientists all over the world.

Baird asserted that as a former science teacher himself, he appreciated what Sullivan was trying to do in fostering debate, but added that he was concerned the proposal would lead to "micromanaging the education process" and the awkward task of trying to explain U.S. energy policy to 5-year-olds.

"I question whether we really want to mandate that a kindergarten teacher educate her or his students on the impact of greenhouse gases on U.S. energy security, global developing nations, et cetera," Baird said.

Sullivan's amendment was rejected on a mostly party-line vote. Twenty-eight Republicans joined all but three Democrats in voting against it. Thus, by a vote of 166 to 250, the House rejected a second-degree amendment to legislation reauthorizing the National Science Foundation that would have required the agency to include a diversity of viewpoints on the human impacts on global climate change in educational materials for kindergarten through 12th graders, and an amendment directing the agency to produce the educational materials proceeded towards an up-or-down vote without the requirement.

Issue Areas:

Find your Member of
Congress' votes

Select by Name