Research Funding Finds Friends in Gingrich, Bernanke


In today?s difficult economic times, Americans may be surprised to hear former speaker of the House and potential Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich argue for increased spending on medical and scientific research.

In today’s difficult economic times, Americans maybe surprised to hear former speaker of the House andpotential Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrichargue for increased spending on medical and scientificresearch. In doing so, he contradicts fellow GOP leader,Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee,who would cut spending in these areas.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, Gingrich, whosemother was bipolar, is a strong supporter of brain research.At a Brookings Institution conference on April 22, he said thatwhile he applauds Ryan’s “courageous effort” to “right-size”government, he disagrees with some of the details.

“One of them is cutting investment in science and research,”Gingrich said at the conference. “It’s essentially like sayingI want to save money on your car (so) we’re not going tochange the oil. And for about a year I can get away with it, thenthe engine will freeze, and we have to change the engine.”

President Obama, in his Plan for Science and Innovation,issued in February, called for doubling the budgets of three key science agencies in 2012. The National Science Foundation,the Department of Energy’s Office ofScience, and the National Instituteof Standards and TechnologyLaboratories would benefit from theproposed additional funding, whichamounts to $13.9 billion in totalfunding for the three agencies.

Federal Reserve Chairman BenBernanke, who said that governmentspending on research and developmentcan help boost economic growth,recently backed Obama.

“The primary economic rationalefor a government role in R&D is that,absent such intervention, the privatemarket would not adequately supplycertain types of research,” Bernankesaid at a Georgetown Universityconference in May.

For past coverage of this topic,please see, “Ongoing Battle over 2011U.S. Budget May Affect President’sPlan for Additional ScienceInvestment in 2012” at

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