Lafferty hopes these newly discovered controversial studies are enough to get NIH behavioral science funding onto the debt ceiling negotiation table for potential cuts. She’s not opposed to “hard science” research funding, but is against “the abuse of taxpayer dollars when it comes to these wacky behavioral sciences.”
“Our point is all of this should be on the table,” Lafferty said. “We’re broke as a nation. If liberals want to fund this, they can do it from their own coffers.”
She points to early June promises from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden that they would eliminate government waste and make government more efficient. “Targeting waste and making government more efficient have been a priority for my administration since day one. But as we work to tackle the budget deficit, we need to step up our game,” Obama said then. “No amount of waste is acceptable — not when it’s your money; not at a time when so many families are already cutting back.”
Biden went a step further than Obama, saying the administration would “hunt” down wasteful spending. “For too long the federal government has allowed billions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted on inefficiencies,” Biden said. “Over the last two years, we have been slashing waste across government and today we are putting Washington on notice: the President and I are committed to changing the way government works and we are stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars.”
An NIH spokesperson told TheDC the government didn’t approve the study and taxpayer funding didn’t directly cover costs for the actual research. NIH funding could only be used, the spokesperson said, for the chief researcher Dr. Christian Grov’s “expenses” like his “stipends, tuition and fees.”*
“The National Institutes of Health did not fund or approve the research described in the paper,” a spokesperson for NIH said. “This study was funded by the Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training. Dr. Christian Grov was supported as a postdoctoral research fellow at the time the research was conducted by a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded training grant, which focuses on preparing behavioral scientists, especially racial/ethnic minorities, to conduct research in the areas of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and crime.”
*This story has been updated to reflect a response from NIH.