It seemed entirely harmless: the creation of an honorary and unpaid position of science laureate of the United States to travel around the country and inspire children to be future scientists.
The bill had been scheduled for swift approval last week. It would have allowed Barack Obama to name up to three laureates at a time to the two-year term. The posts would all be unpaid, and appointees credentials would be vetted by the National Academy of Sciences.
But after urging from the American Conservative Union, which bills itself as the country's largest and oldest grassroots conservative organisation, Republicans in the House leadership pulled the science laureate bill off the schedule, and sent it for revision.
Written By: Suzanne Goldenberg
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