CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ALERT: Congressional Signatures Needed for NSF Support Letter

(Posted 5-15-03; Updated 7-17-03)

FINAL ACTION: The signatures of 154 congressional representatives were gathered this year in support of increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies.

IN A NUTSHELL: The following alert was sent yesterday by the American Geophysical Union urging its members to encourage their congressional representatives to sign a joint letter in support of increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The deadline for additional signatures is May 19th. So far, 112 Members of Congress (and counting) have joined the letter to the House Appropriations Committee. The letter is being circulated by Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI), both of whom chair subcommittees of the House Science Committee. A similar letter last year generated 130 signers, and the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF; to which AGI and a number of its Member Societies belong) is hoping to surpass that number. The CNSF web site (http://www.cnsfweb.org) includes a list of the representatives who have signed so far. If your representative is not on the list, please encourage him or her to join; if your representative is on the list, please send them a quick note thanking them for this support of fundamental research.

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ASLA 03-08: Congressional Letter Urging Support for NSF Needs
More Signatures
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In the House of Representatives, a letter to key appropriators is being circulated that recommends substantially higher funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Scientists with an interest in NSF have an opportunity to contact their congressional representative and urge them to sign the letter in support of this important effort. The deadline for Members to sign is 19 May 2003. This time-sensitive effort will fall short unless constituents act.

Representative Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) is circulating a letter to Members, urging them to join in a bipartisan effort to support funding for NSF by requesting $6.39 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2004, the full amount authorized by Congress last year in the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002.

Rep. Ehlers' letter calls on appropriators to put the NSF budget on the doubling path, stating that, "...the increase would be used to expand core science programs, enabling NSF to begin funding highly ranked grant proposals that are turned down solely for lack of funding. It would also fund K-12 education programs that are critical for improving math and science education throughout the country, as well as large facility projects that have already been approved by the National Science Board."

The letter, which will be sent to VA, HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman James Walsh (R-NY) and Ranking Minority Member Alan Mollohan (D-WV), provides a ready "illustration" of Member support for the foundation as the appropriations bill is written. In times of tight budgets, a broad, bipartisan showing of support for NSF funding is critical to maintain funding for the basic sciences.

Ehlers and his colleagues are appealing to individual scientists to contact their Representative and urge him or her to sign the letter. 130 Members signed an NSF support letter circulated in the House last year. This year's letter, however, has thus far received only 80 signatures. More signatures will increase the chances that Walsh and Mollohan will take this request seriously. To read the letter and see a current list of Members who have signed the letter, visit the following site:
http://www.cnsfweb.org/Ehlers-dearcolleague-apr03.html.

If NSF funding is important to you, take a moment to send your Representative an email or fax urging them to sign the letter, if they have not done so already. Be sure to refer to Rep. Ehlers' April 10 "Dear Colleague" letter regarding NSF.

The deadline for Members to sign the letter is Monday, 19 May.

It is easy to send an electronic message to your Members of Congress. The House provides the following web site to identify your Members and provide links to e-mail forms: http://www.house.gov/writerep/.

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Author: Emily Crum, AGU
Source: Coalition for National Science Funding, AIP FYI, U.S. House of Representatives
Questions or comments about ASLA? Need to change your e-mail address? Contact Peter Folger (pfolger@agu.org). To read previous ASLAs, visit http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/sci_pol.html

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Posted May 15, 2003


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