Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) has recently been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to run the White House Office of Management and Budget, and, as Vox reports, Mulvaney isn't keen on federally funded science.
During a debate regarding how much money to put toward combatting the Zika virus, Mulvaney wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post that the question was whether "we really need government-funded research at all?" Vox notes, though, that because the post was written during the Zika debate, it's unclear whether Mulvaney, who is a known deficit hawk, was referring to all government-funded research or just Zika research.
Mother Jones further reports that Mulvaney was down on Zika funding because there was uncertainty as to whether the virus actually causes microcephaly in infants. In his post, Mulvaney cited a press release on a New England Journal of Medicine study that noted that the rate of microcephaly was lower than expected in Colombia, and, to him, that suggested the link wasn't strong.
"His argument, in other words, was: Scientists aren't sure what's going on with Zika, so why do we need research?" Vox says.
Mother Jones also notes that, at that time of his post, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already concluded that the Zika virus caused microcephaly and other problems, and Vox points out that the study cited was preliminary and there has since been a spike in microcephaly cases in Colombia.