WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Paul D. Tonko—joined by House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Representatives Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)—today reintroduced the Scientific Integrity Act, legislation that sets clear, enforceable standards for federal agencies and federally-funded research to keep public science independent from political or special interest meddling.
“At its heart, science doesn’t serve political power—it just tries to tell us the truth,” Congressman Tonko said. “Allowing politics and private interests to interfere with public science erodes public trust and has dire consequences. We have seen firsthand the devastation caused when politics gets in the way of science with the previous Administration’s failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the numerous environmental rollbacks that threaten the safety of our air and water. As an engineer with a deep respect for science, I have fought for many years to ensure that scientific standards are upheld no matter who sits in the White House. That is why I introduced the Scientific Integrity Act, which provides much needed protections for our federal scientists, helps restore public trust, and better enables us to address and solve the many pressing challenges our communities face.
“Through his executive actions, President Biden is making a key step to firmly place science back where it belongs in our government and policy making and help reverse a dangerous trend of political leaders ignoring or abusing science for political or personal gain,” Tonko continued. “I look forward to working with this administration to uphold scientific integrity standards, and remain committed to advancing my Scientific Integrity Act in this Congress to ensure that these standards are protected under the full force of law.”
Following President Biden’s inauguration, Tonko sent a letter calling for the new Administration to establish strong federal scientific integrity policies by implementing his Scientific Integrity Act. Tonko was joined in this letter by Representatives Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Alan Lowenthal (D-CA).
Last week, the Biden Administration took executive action to restore science as a reliable source of guidance for our government by emphasizing scientific integrity and the use of evidence in policymaking, calling on federal research agencies to name chief scientific officers, and for all agencies for spend 90 days reviewing the role of dozens of panels that provide scientific advice to the federal government – along with elevating the Office of Science and Technology Policy to join his Cabinet.
Tonko’s bill has garnered more than 140 cosponsors.
The Scientific Integrity Act:
- Requires federal agencies that fund or direct public science to establish & maintain clear scientific integrity principles.
- Formalizes these policies and strengthens them with the force of law; clarifies that science should determine policy, free from inappropriate politics, ideology, or financial conflicts of interest.
- Holds public scientists to the highest standards while guaranteeing their rights and protections under the law.