The Republican Party is really the “kill them all and let God sort them out” kind of party.
Their latest craziness in the arena of science is toying with the notion of shutting down the NIH entirely or at least the ability of NIH to issue any new grants. So perhaps their new mantra is “kill all NIH projects and we’ll sort them out for morality”
I’m not kidding. If you think I am, see that the Republicans have reportedly forced the shutdown of most of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week. Planes fly and air traffic controllers will still be napping at their stations, but most of the FAA will be offline.
The Republicans have also walked out of talks trying to find a deal to avoid the U.S. going into default in the near future.
If less government is good, perhaps they reason that no government is gooder.
Right-wing extremists are calling for a freeze on all funding of new NIH grants and they have the ear of some Republican leaders.
The National Review says that for NIH, smaller is by definition better. In this article they cite examples of alleged wasteful spending by NIH that were identified by the so-called “Traditional Values Coalition”. You can read more about them here on their website. They describe themselves as “an interdenominational and multi-racial public policy organization speaking on behalf of 43,000 churches nationwide.” Once we enter the slippery slope of individual, non-scientific groups approving or disapproving of certain NIH grants, I think we are on a slippery slope.
So what would happen if the Republicans shutdown NIH entirely?
Let’s not even discuss such a disaster, but let’s say they “simply” made NIH freeze issuing all new grants. Then we are talking about job losses in the thousands and a hit to the economy. This would be an action that would be like a dagger to the heart of American excellence in biomedical science.
Would the Republicans go to such an extreme? It wasn’t that long ago I would have said “no”, but given the signs that they are trying to default our entire country simply to put Obama in a bad spot and appease their tea party friends, now I think they might have it in them to do something so destructive.