Take Action: House Science Committee to Vote on FIRST Act

On Wednesday, May 21, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will mark up the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act, or FIRST Act. This legislation includes massive cuts to the National Science Foundation’s Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences directorate, whose sphere includes historical research. Moreover, it is not only an issue of money; the legislation also takes aim at the integrity of the peer review process. The AHA is a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations, which has issued an Action Alert encouraging members to write to their House Representative urging them to vote “NO” on the bill. We share our colleagues’ dismay regarding the House of Representatives pending action on the “FIRST Act,” and encourage our members to send a message.

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  1. Jim Hubbard

    I understand the perceived need for scholarly associations to practice solidarity. Nonetheless, in this case, Congressmen are asserting their rightful responsibility to decide how public funds are spent and to require those who spend them to ensure that they are spent in the public interest. The National Science Foundation may want to set priorities within the funds the Congress provides, but, like any other Federal agency, it’s authority is only to follow legislative mandates. One can respect the peer review process without, however, arguing that only peer reviewers, and not the Congress, can decide whether research is in the public interest.