Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced the Scientific Integrity Act, along with more than two dozen Democratic senators, to protect government scientists from political interference. The legislation comes in the wake of recent reports that Trump administration officials had placed gag orders on employees at the EPA.
“Science should not be used as a political tool, but rather a search for the truth – the verifiable facts. With truth and fact under siege, now is a particularly dangerous time to be silencing our scientists. This bill will help ensure the public is kept safe and informed, tax dollars are spent most effectively, and our laws and policies are based on accurate, verifiable information,” remarked Sen. Cantwell, a senior member of the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
“Politics should not get in the way of sharing factual and independent scientific information, period,” said Sen. Murray. “It is the public’s right to have access to federally funded science and research, and this bill reinforces the critical principle that scientists supporting federal agencies or laboratories should be free from outside influences.”
Among other things, the legislation (S.338) would:
- Reaffirm the principle of open communication of scientific findings and prevent the suppression of scientific findings;
- Ensure that scientists are allowed to communicate their findings with the public, press and Congress;
- Direct federal agencies to develop scientific integrity policies that include whistleblower protections and
- Require scientific integrity policies to be posted online and given to all new hires.
Since November, more than 5,000 scientists, including many Nobel Prize winners, have signed an open letter urging President Trump and Congress to preserve scientific integrity.
The legislation was led by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and was also joined by Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).