The House yesterday ignored criticism that thousands of dollars went to a study that found that some seagulls are lesbians, and approved a $934.5 million authorization for the National Science Foundation.
The NSF annually comes under criticism from Congress because of the nature of some of the exotic studies it funds under its "biological, behavorial and social sciences" programs. Those programs would get $158 million under the measure passed on a 364-to-37 vote and sent to the Senate.
"I wonder if anyone can tell us if there were any fruitful results from the study of gay seagulls," said Rep. John H. Rousselot (R-Calif.), referring to publicity last year about a study by the University of California that cost $62.300.
"This is a study of hormones," said Rep. Thomas R. Harkin (D-Iowa) in defense of the bill. "What they're trying to do is find out why these birds do what they do."
There was laughter.
Rep. Olin E. Teague (D-Tex.), manager of the bill, said, "A few years ago we were studying the sex life of cattle. That paid off when we got rid of the screwworm."
There was more laughter.
Discussion of studies financed by the NSF came during debate on an amendment by Rep. John M. Ashbrook (R-Ohio) to cut the authorization figure by $6 million. It lost 229 to 174.