The move to have a science laureate for the United States — a sort of champion for science — has hit a snag, NPR reports.
The bill to create the honorary position was introduced in May by a bipartisan group of legislators, and its passage would enable the president to chose and appoint a laureate, drawing upon a list made by the National Academy of Sciences. As a bipartisan bill, it was fast-tracked for a vote.
However, NPR reports that Larry Hart, legislative director of the American Conservative Union, has raised concerns about the bill, and it was pulled from the legislative calendar.
"What I couldn't understand was why [Republican] folks who constantly give speeches saying that they're upset with President Obama's appointments would give him the power for new appointments, particularly in the area of science, which he has a particular view of — in my opinion — a very politicized view of science," Hart tells NPR. He adds that he thinks Obama's views on climate change are politicized.
A staffer for bill co-sponsor Representative Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) tells ScienceInsider that the point of the bill is to support science with no political agenda. "This bill is simply a chance to show our children that discovery science is important and that science can be an exciting and rewarding career," the staffer says.
ScienceInsider adds that the bill is to return to the science committee for markup and return to the House floor for consideration.