Scientific American: A Fix for the Antiscience Attitude in Congress

By The Editors of Scientific American

The White House and Congress have lost their way when it comes to science. Notions unsupported by evidence are informing decisions about environmental policy and other areas of national interest, including public health, food safety, mental health and biomedical research. The president has not asked for much advice from his Office of Science and Technology Policy, evidently.

The congressional committees that craft legislation on these matters do not even have formal designated science advisers. That’s a big problem. Take the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Its leader, Republican Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, clearly misunderstands the scientific process, which includes assessment by independent peer reviewers prior to publication. The result has been a nakedly antiscience agenda. The committee has packed its hearings with industry members as witnesses instead of independent researchers. Democratic members have felt compelled to hold alternative hearings because they feel Smith has not allowed the real experts to speak. Smith’s misinformed leadership has made it clear that congressional science committees need to be guided by genuinely objective experts.

So far this year, Smith and fellow committee member Representative Frank Lucas of Oklahoma have each introduced bills that would seriously weaken the Environmental Protection Agency. Lucas’s bill would help stack the EPA’s Science Advisory Board with industry representatives and supporters. Smith’s—the Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment (HONEST) Act—would make it harder for the EPA to create rules based on good research. As Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a former representative and a nuclear physicist, said of an earlier version of the bill, this sort of legislation is nothing less than an attempt to “fundamentally substitut[e] a [political] process for the scientific process.”

This is lunacy. We should not allow elected officials—especially the heads of congressional science committees—to interfere with the scientific process, bully researchers or deny facts that fit poorly with their political beliefs. Instead of seeing science as a threat, officials should recognize it as an invaluable tool for improving legislation.

To educate members about the best available research, both the House and Senate science committees should create independent groups of impartial researchers and policy specialists to advise them on science and technology issues, including those related to energy, genetically modified foods, and clean air and water. (Industry representatives would still have a voice, but they would counsel the committees separately.) The advisers could provide counsel without advocating specific courses of action. The scientific community—perhaps the heads of the National Academy of Sciences—could select the advisers, who would serve limited terms. Policy makers would still make the decisions, but with help from experts, those decisions would at least be based on facts.

Congress used to have a body of this kind—the widely respected Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). The OTA was an office of Congress: it served members and committees, and a bipartisan board of senators and representatives oversaw it. Until 1995, the OTA created reports on scientific issues ranging from alternative fuels to cancer and presented Congress with options it could pursue to reach different goals. Then the Republican-controlled Congress axed its funding during budget cuts. Many have advocated for the OTA’s return, including Scientific American. Last year Representative Bill Foster of Illinois introduced a resolution calling for its revival.

Whether it comes from a resurrected OTA, a new, dedicated advisory panel or some other body, independent, evidence-based advice on scientific matters would provide a strong counterbalance to the opinions of special interests. Science would get a voice, no matter who was in power. This voice could not force members of Congress to accept scientific truth over alternative “facts.” But at least it would give them the opportunity to do so.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-fix-for-the-antiscience-attitude-in-congress/

Physics World: Serving the public

Taken from the September 2017 issue of Physics World

Particle physicist Bill Foster has served in the US Congress for almost a decade. He calls on more physicists to get involved at all levels of government and politics

It is hard to read the news these days without a degree of trepidation over the future of enlightened democracy. With the rise of Donald Trump in the US, the increase of right-wing parties around the globe as well as the general decline of rational and civil discourse, we need everyone to stand up for rational and fact-based debate. In the US, budget cuts and conservative ideology threaten to undo the progress that decades of scientific research has made in the quality of life and standard of living that we currently enjoy.

Scientific and technical competence is our best defence against these threats, especially from individuals with a scientific background who are willing to serve in elected office. For this reason, I often tell researchers my own story, so that other scientists might consider spending part of their career in public service.

When I was 19, my brother and I started a company in our parents’ basement that now makes most of the stage lighting equipment in the US. I then returned to my first love and entered graduate school at Harvard to study physics. My PhD thesis involved searching for proton decay through the construction, instrumentation and data analysis of the Irvine–Michigan–Brookhaven detector that was located at Fairport mine on the shore of Lake Erie. Although our experiment did not discover proton decay, it scored a significant unanticipated success when it was one of three experiments to observe the burst of neutrinos from SN1987a.

After receiving my PhD in 1983, I spent the next 23 years at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. I spent the first decade designing, building and analysing data from giant particle detectors. I was a member of the team that discovered the top quark – the heaviest known form of matter, and quite possibly the heaviest particle that will ever be discovered. So when we had the Congressional reception celebrating the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, I had the honour of congratulating many of my former colleagues for discovering the second heaviest form of matter.

I spent my second decade at Fermilab designing and building particle accelerators such as the Fermilab Antiproton Recycler Ring, which was used to greatly increase the number of collisions and keep the physics programme at Fermilab’s Tevatron competitive until the end of its lifetime. With a large team of collaborators, I also helped design and build prototype elements of future, large hadron colliders.

Tackling technical issues

Why did I decide to enter the US Congress? My quick answer is that I tragically fell prey to my family’s recessive gene for adult-onset political activism. My parents met on Capitol Hill in the 1950s when my mother worked for US senator Paul Douglas. Like me, my father was trained as a scientist, and during the Second World War he designed fire-control computers for the navy. During his service, he started receiving reports on how many people were killed each week by the equipment his team built. He became very unhappy at the idea of his scientific skills being used that way. When he came back from the war, he became a civil-rights lawyer and wrote much of the enforcement language behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

After he passed away, I began to read his papers, and they prompted me to begin contemplating a question that science cannot really answer: what fraction of your life should you spend in service of your fellow citizens? That is why I decided to run for Congress in the special election to replace Dennis Hastert, former speaker of the US House, in 2008. On the campaign trail I learned that there is a long list of neurons that you have to deaden to convert a scientist’s brain into a politician’s. When you speak with voters, you must lead with conclusions rather than complex analysis of underlying evidence – something that is very unnatural to a scientist.

As a sitting member of Congress, I have been able to lead on important technical issues. On the science, space and technology committee, I have helped bring issues to the committee’s attention that require us to act. For example, the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology discovered in 2012 raises the prospect for cures for diseases such as sickle-cell anaemia, but also has the potential to disrupt society. At my urging, the science committee held a hearing on this topic, and I have been told that it was one of the best attended in the committee’s history.

As the only PhD physicist in Congress, my background became important during the debate of the Iran nuclear deal. During this time, I had more than a dozen classified briefings, many of them individual briefings by the technical experts at the Departments of Energy, State and Treasury, and the intelligence agencies. Because of the technical complexity of the agreement, members of both parties would routinely ask my opinion on aspects of the proposed agreement. Ultimately, my support was based on verification and science, not trust of the Iranian regime.

Defending the science budgets during the annual appropriation cycle is an ongoing challenge. Many members of Congress make the mistake of seeing science as an enterprise that can be stopped and restarted at will – like road construction or equipment purchases. They do not appreciate the damage that can be done to a scientific enterprise in a single budget cycle, where projects and careers that take decades to build can be irreversibly destroyed in a single fiscal year.

In the US and across the world, we need people with strong scientific backgrounds in all levels of government and politics. We need scientists and engineers on our school boards and city councils just as much as we need them in Washington. I hope anyone who reads this will take the time to consider spending a fraction of their life in service to their fellow citizen.

Bolingbrook holds Will County Resistance Fair

About 100 local political activists, organizations and some elected officials came out to the Holiday Inn and Suites in Bolingbrook on Saturday for the Will County Resistance Fair.

The free event came about to connect several progressive organizations and causes to Will County residents as sort of a one-stop shop of political networking. The event was organized by Will County Board member Jackie Traynere, D-Bolingbrook, and Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville.

“I think there are a large number of people that are unhappy about what they’re hearing and seeing out of the [Donald] Trump administration,” Foster said. “That was true before the election and even more true now, and I think they’ve come to realize that if they want to protect the best values of our country and a functioning democracy, they have to stand up for truth, justice and the American way.”

Foster spoke to the group and encouraged attendees to get involved, especially in electoral politics, with midterm elections coming up next year and municipal elections in 2019. He praised the efforts of all involved in the event, saying they exhibited “democracy at work.”

There were a number of organizations centered on progressive causes in attendance that were recruiting new members or attracting the attention of curious attendees. They included Planned Parenthood, the Democratic Women of Will County, the Citizens Climate Lobby, the Will County Progressives and the Bolingbrook United Party.

There even was a group called Friends Who March, a grass-roots organization that came out of the Women’s March in January, the day after Trump was inaugurated. Their members came dressed entirely in pink, including angel wings.

Representatives from J.B. Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign and Marie Newman’s campaign for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District – which includes all or parts of Crest Hill, Romeoville, Lockport and Lemont – were in attendance.

Aside from the different organizations, there also were a series of talks about everything from misogyny in the 21st century to running for office, and from social and mainstream media to climate change.

Some locals, such as Pat Artman, a Romeoville resident, have been much more politically active since the 2016 presidential election, and have been looking for opportunities to get more involved. Artman, 70, said she has been quite worried about the direction of the country, and she wants more people to get involved and participate in local elections.

She said this was a good outlet to meet new people and maintain connections with like-minded concerned residents, but mostly to not just sit around and complain about what’s going on in the country.

“I wanted to see what else was out there for me to get involved with,” Artman said. “I feel like every day there’s something new to do because it’s so important.”

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/08/26/bolingbrook-holds-will-county-resistance-fair/a7ewk2a/

Foster Statement on Illinois Budget Veto Override

Illinois has gone three years without a budget. I am grateful that more than a dozen Republicans in the General Assembly joined with Democrats to override Governor Rauner and produce a true compromise.

I am distressed, however, to see the Governor’s continued intransigence. Illinois has tremendous challenges that can only be met when we are all working together. I hope Governor Rauner puts aside his partisan agenda and works to undo the damage he’s done.

Foster Statement on Failure of Illinois Budget

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Foster (D-IL) issued the following statement on the Illinois budget failure:

Illinois is the first state in eight decades to go without a budget, and Springfield’s continued failure to pass a budget has caused irreparable damage to our schools, roads, and medical assistance facilities in our state. This budget failure will continue to hurt school children, seniors in nursing homes, the disabled, and any taxpayer who is fed up running the state on a high interest credit card.

I am particularly disappointed that this failure seems largely driven by Governor Rauner’s complete inflexibility on any proposed budget deal. We already have a President in the White House who seems to lack an understanding of the legislative and budgetary process. Unfortunately, Governor Rauner also shows no appetite for reasonable compromise that true leaders need in order to do their job.

Naperville Sun: Standing up for science

Scientists, students, educators and activists from Naperville and the Fox Valley will take to the streets of Chicago this weekend as part of the March for Science.

Billed as one of the largest global gatherings to promote science ever held, nonpartisan March for Science events were scheduled this year for Earth Day, April 22, as a means of validating the importance of scientific discovery.

Besides Chicago, marches are planned throughout Illinois, including Carbondale, Charleston, Champaign, Normal, Palatine, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield.

Naperville resident Meg Dickson, a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will be volunteering at the Chicago event. Organizers are expecting about 40,000 people to participate, she said.

“There is a general misunderstanding of how science works,” said Dickson, who is studying molecular, cellular and developmental biology.

Like many scientists, Dickson said she is dismayed by the policies coming from President Donald Trump and his administration, who have denied the existence of climate change and frozen funding earmarked for research.

The march is an effort to generate better understanding, she said.

In Chicago, the event begins with a rally at 10 a.m. at the corner of South Columbus Drive at East Jackson Drive. From there, participants will march south to the Chicago museum campus, where the March for Science Expo is to be held from noon to 3 p.m.

Dickson said another goal of the march is to celebrate the diversity of the science community, no matter the field of study or a scientist’s political leaning.

“The image of the scientist is the old white dude with a beard,” which is no longer the case, she said.

Dickson said the number of women in laboratories in her field of biology has grown over the years, though the number remains below 50 percent.

“I’d like to think we’ve gained quite a bit, but we have a long way to go,” she said.

Aurora high school sophomore Jo Balmuri said she is marching in Chicago to raise awareness that climate change is a real and important issue to young people. She’s encouraging other science- and civic-minded students from her school to attend as well.

“I personally think this president’s climate policy is very troubling,” said Balmuri , a student at Metea Valley High School in Aurora.

Like most teenagers, she said, she has grown up being taught what is happening to the polar ice caps and the causes of the melt.

“Climate change is no longer disputed. If anything we debate its severity,” said Balmuri , who added she doesn’t understand why people in Trump’s Cabinet deny it.

Climate change needs a long-term solution and her generation might have to be the one to push for it, she said.

“I think we’re the most technologically competent generation. It is our obligation,” she said.

Boarding the Amtrak for Chicago Saturday will be at least 10 members of the League of Women Voters Naperville.

“(Our group) participated in the Women’s March; we continue in that spirit with the March for Science,” said Linda Heller, the league’s action and advocacy coordinator for the march.

The league’s positions nationally and the state level align with the March for Science, such as promoting protection and management of natural resources; preserving the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the ecosystem, air quality, energy, land use and water resources; and waste management.

An increased awareness of the role science plays in our lives doesn’t hurt, said the retired art teacher and advocate of STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

“The modern world would not be so modern without science. Science affects us all,” Heller said.

Naperville’s Bill Foster is headed to Washington, D.C., to march there with his science comrades.

“I am attending as a scientist rather than a Democratic member of Congress,” said Foster, who is the only physicist in the U.S. House.

A number of longtime friends from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia and Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont are so concerned about how science and the scientific method is viewed by U.S. leaders that they’ve begun reaching out to their congressmen and senators.

The initial budget proposal from the president calls for deep cuts in research funding, which will hit Fermilab, Argonne and the National Institutes of Health, which are finding cures for cancer.

“One of the big concerns is the increasing disrespect for the scientific method and for policies that aren’t based on facts and evidence,” Foster said.

“Those in science perform research, have it reviewed by their peers, publish the results and believe the answer should be obvious. That no longer is the case,” he said.

Foster said either ignoring or rejecting facts is not the way to make decisions facing this nation. Having more people in Congress with a scientific background or understanding of science can be very helpful.

“There are times when it’s indispensable,” he said.

For example, when Congress was weighing the Iran nuclear deal, the material included “pages and pages” of technical descriptions, he said.

“Republicans and Democrats came to me asking, ‘Hey Bill, what does this mean?'”

When Foster entered Congress, he was one of three physicists. The others were Vern Ehlers, a Republican from Michigan, and Rush Holt, a Democrat from New Jersey who now heads up the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is active in organizing the March for Science in Washington, D.C.

“I have to admit that at this point (as) the only PhD physical scientist (in Congress), I sometimes feel a bit lonely,” Foster said.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/ct-nvs-march-for-science-st-0421-20170421-story.html

STAT: Congress’s one PhD-trained scientist will join march on Washington

WASHINGTON — Congress’s one PhD-trained scientist is planning to join the march on Washington on April 22 — “not as a Democratic member of Congress, but as a scientist.”

Thousands of scientists and science advocates are expected to participate in the March for Science, and Congressman Bill Foster of Illinois, a Democrat and physicist, will join them. He’s even planning to return three days early from a congressional recess to attend.

But as to whether he views his participation as a rebuke to the president, Foster said, “The march itself is nonpartisan. It is in support of science, and I think that it’s an important distinction to be drawn.”

That line, between a political march and a partisan one, has remained at the center of the pre-march discussion. Like the Women’s March on Washington, the March for Science will inevitably be viewed by some as a rebuke of the current White House and Republican-controlled Congress’s science policies.

But in Foster’s view, there’s a way for scientists to be political without really getting political.

“One of the important lessons that all parents should be taught in raising a child is to criticize the behavior, not the child,” Foster said. “So when I see anti-scientific policies by any agency, any politician, I criticize the policy and don’t turn it into a partisan criticism. I don’t generalize to their entire party. But if you see a specific policy that is inconsistent with the known principles of science, every citizen who is also a scientist should speak out.”

The science community has found plenty of objectionable behavior in the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency. The White House budget outline proposed major cuts to the NIH, the chairman of the House science committee recently questioned the credibility of Science magazine, and Trump has yet to appoint a director for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Luckily, Foster said, the scientific community has recent experience picking apart only the scientific aspects of a contentious debate while leaving the politics aside. Look no further than 2015 and the Iran nuclear deal, Foster said, which he supported after extensive technical review.

“The analysis of the technical aspects should be kept scientific,” Foster said. “The scientific community spoke out, correctly, in support of the technical aspects. But most scientists were respectful also that there was a second part of the decision that had to do with diplomatic and psychological analysis of what Iran would look like the day after we voted it up or down. That’s a non-scientific decision that you have to keep separate.”

New Yorker: Two NASA Engineers Try Out Politics

When Natalia Sanchez was fourteen, she travelled from her home in Bogotá, Colombia, to San Francisco to spend the summer with an aunt. During her stay, she took dozens of pictures of freeways—the on-ramps and off-ramps, the way the roads overlapped. “To me, it looked like ‘The Jetsons,’ “ Sanchez told me recently. “This country was a different world. I realized that if we wanted to pursue bigger things, we had to get out of Colombia.” Sanchez had been dreaming big for a while. After watching Carl Sagan’s television series “Cosmos” when she was eight, she had become obsessed with outer space. She wanted to explore the universe, and that meant getting to nasa.

Sanchez, who is now in her early thirties, moved to the United States within a year of that visit. She completed degrees in general and aerospace engineering at California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, where she met and found a role model in Tracy Van Houten, of nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who was active in the Society of Women Engineers. A decade or so after arriving as an undocumented teen-ager, Sanchez became a citizen—and joined J.P.L., which she called “the holy grail for anyone who wants to do anything beyond Earth.” She worked on various projects, including the sampling drill on the Mars rover Curiosity. “I have always looked at my little blue book and felt how lucky I am to be holding an American passport,” Sanchez said.

On Election Night last year, that feeling of luck was joined by worry about Donald Trump’s anti-science, anti-fact, anti-immigrant platforms. “I couldn’t sit in my cubicle, sit there all day, and ignore all that is going on,” Sanchez said. “My dreams are in jeopardy.” When she learned that Van Houten was running in a special primary for California’s Thirty-fourth Congressional District—a seat vacated by Representative Xavier Becerra, who replaced Kamala Harris as California’s attorney general when she was elected to the Senate—Sanchez briefly contemplated her own run, for superintendent of public instruction. Ultimately, she decided to work for Van Houten’s campaign.

American scientists have a long history of political engagement. They have, among other activities, provided advice and expert testimony to Congress, lobbied for funding, worked for non-governmental organizations and think tanks, and shaped policymaking (for ill, think “Merchants of Doubt”; for good, think “Silent Spring”). But a scientist politician is almost as rare as a Really Great Whangdoodle. Among the five hundred and thirty-five voting members of the hundred and fifteenth Congress, the Congressional Research Service finds three scientists, eight engineers, fourteen physicians, and few others with scientific training. “In the past century, scientists have felt uncomfortable in the public arena,” Rush D. Holt, the C.E.O. of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a physicist and a former member of Congress, told me. “There developed among scientists this justification that it was inappropriate for scientists to be involved in politics—that somehow that would corrupt the science. And, of course, that is not true.” During the past few months, though, moved by the same unease that Sanchez felt on Election Night, thousands of scientists have decided to run for office or become otherwise politically vocal and involved.

Van Houten had been feeling the tug of politics for several years, since before Trump’s rise. She was slowly preparing for a run by taking online-training courses, becoming active in local political organizations, building a network, and reading “all the books written by women Democratic senators.” Her chance arrived earlier than expected, but she plunged in, even as she continued to work at J.P.L. “I have fought sexism, I believe in climate change, and I am based on facts,” she told me. “L.A. wants to send the opposite of Trump to Congress.” Van Houten is one of nineteen Democrats running against a solitary Republican and three other smaller-party candidates. If she were to win the primary, on April 4th, and then the special election, on June 6th, she would be the first woman engineer in Congress—and one of about sixteen women representatives with young children, which is a group as underrepresented as scientists, she noted.

Van Houten and Sanchez have both turned for information and advice to 314 Action, a nonprofit that supports Democratic candidates from the stem fields—science, technology, engineering, and math. After the election, 314 Action planned a webinar for an anticipated hundred or so politically interested scientists. About three thousand signed up, so the event evolved into a daylong conference. It was initially scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., on March 14th—Pi Day (and Albert Einstein’s birthday). Snowstorm Stella blew the conference to April 20th, but 314 Action went on offering online lessons in campaign-finance law, volunteer recruitment, and public speaking. In one of them, Representative Jerry McNerney, an engineer, offered a pep talk and reality check. “This term, I am on the Science Committee, and I am seeing it’s like walking into an alternate universe,” he said. “We need people to fight for what’s true.”

314 Action is not the first organization of its kind. The non-partisan Scientists and Engineers for America supported stem candidates for several years, and Representative Bill Foster, between his two stints in Congress, founded the short-lived, non-partisan Franklin’s List (formerly Albert’s List). A majority of scientists identify as Democrats, yet, according to the Pew Research Center, sixty-four per cent of Americans currently perceive them as non-ideological. Foster is concerned that could change. “There is a danger in furthering the perception that science is a partisan issue,” he said. “Scientists stand up for truth and logic.… But I think some members of the other party have come to the conclusion that science is a sort of Democratic plot. I think that is very dangerous for scientific policy in our country.” One solution, he suggested, is for his colleagues to revive Franklin’s List, or for Republicans to start a political-action committee that operates in tandem with 314 Action—“as Emily’s List and the Susan B. Anthony List are sort of mirror images of each other.”

The southern part of the Thirty-fourth District, where Sanchez has been knocking on doors and stumping as one of Van Houten’s two field directors, is largely Latino. She has met many people there who, like her, emigrated to the United States—a persistent reminder that the impacts of Trump’s policies are for Sanchez both professional and personal. Her family left Colombia during a violent era. “People were dying when they went outside to go about their business,” Sanchez said, recalling the fear she felt about car bombs on the way to school. Moving to America provided her and her siblings the opportunity to thrive. Her brother became a cybersecurity expert; one sister became a dancer then a diplomat, and the other joined the F.B.I. Sanchez helped obtain evidence that Mars once was rich with water and that it has organic material—that the cold, dry, barren red planet may once have been habitable. All four found great success. But “there is a lot of suffering that goes into leaving your homeland,” Sanchez said. “Having gone through what I went through to become a U.S. citizen, it would be irresponsible not to take some action.”

Sanchez, who has left J.P.L. for now, remains undecided about what form that engagement will take. “I don’t know if I am cut out for politics,” she said. “I am a planner, an engineer, and I am outside my comfort zone.” She often finds canvassing discouraging. At the same time, she said, “I see parallels between what happens in science and what people in political fields are trying to do, which is, in the end, to solve problems.” For the architects of the republic, there was no conflict between the two realms. As the historian I. Bernard Cohen and others have described, the country’s founders conducted experiments, invented and innovated, read Newton, and embraced the Enlightenment. They provided for the patent system in Article I of the Constitution, in order to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” Sanchez believes that science and politics remain intrinsically linked. “You can’t have one without the other,” she said.

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/two-nasa-engineers-try-out-politics

Foster’s Statement on TrumpCare Legislation Withdrawl

Naperville, IL – Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) released the following statement through his campaign following Republicans’ failure to bring the American Health Care Act (AKA TrumpCare) up for a vote: “Today, I was proud to stand with my Democratic colleagues, as well as many Republicans, to defeat the American Health Care Act, better known as TrumpCare.

“Despite reports of the millions of Americans who would have lost health coverage, massive cost increases for middle-aged Americans, millions of jobs destroyed, women being denied access to essential healthcare services, millions of veterans being subjected to a new tax penalty, and even people’s lives put in jeopardy, the President and his Republican Congress charged ahead with full force until the very last minute.

“Our country will be far better off without this legislation. As President Trump and Republicans continue to press their extreme right-wing agenda in Congress, I will continue to fight to protect Americans from the consequences of their fraudulent campaign promises.”

Foster’s Statement on Trump’s First Two Months in Office

Naperville, IL – Today, the campaign of Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) issued a statement on his assessment of the Trump Administration two months after the President took office: “After last year’s election results, we knew things would be very different with Republicans controlling all levers of power in Washington. I didn’t expect how quickly President Trump and the Republican Congress would seek to destroy funding for research and education, take away health coverage from tens of millions of Americans, and generally impose their dark vision on America. Republicans are also seeking once again to defund Planned Parenthood and to take away a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. They also want to completely end vital protections for our communities and our environment.

“The fact of the matter is, while on the campaign trail, then-Candidate Trump told us exactly what his plans were. Many of us hoped that if elected, he would strike a more reasonable tone and would prioritize the safety and well-being of this country. These last two months have shown us that he will stop at nothing to make good on many of his unconstitutional promises to impose religious tests on immigrants while proposing draconian cuts to federal programs that benefit those who need them most. Whether it’s his intolerant and dangerous executive orders, or his complete unwillingness to free his office from personal conflicts of interest, President Trump’s policies will make this country far worse than anyone ever imagined.
“I sought this office to solve the problems facing this country with a thoughtful approach. While I will look for areas of compromise where possible, I will fight tooth and nail, both in Washington and in the Illinois 11th District, to ensure that we are able to stop President Trump from irreparably damaging this great country.”