ALERT: Support Increased Funding for DOE's
Office of Science
This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's
In A Nutshell: Each year during the appropriations process, members
of Congress may circulate "Dear Colleague" letters, obtain
signatures and submit these letters to an appropriations subcommittee
in support of a specific program or project. These letters allow members
of Congress to demonstrate their support for a program. A large number
of signatures indicate strong support for the program discussed in
the letter. Currently, Representatives from the House Energy Subcommittee,
Judy Biggert (R-IL and Chair), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Rep. Ellen
Tauscher (D-CA) are collecting signatures for a Dear Colleague letter
that requests increased funding for the Department of Energy's (DOE)
Office of Science. The letter will be sent to the House Energy and
Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Hobson
(R-OH) and Ranking Minority Member Peter Visclosky (D-IN).
The Biggert-Schiff-Tauscher Dear Colleague letter requests that Congress
increase the budget for the Office of Science in DOE for fiscal year
(FY) 2006. The President's request for FY06 would cut the budget for
the Office of Science and force research to be significantly scaled
DOE's Office of Science provides about 40% of total federal spending
for basic research in the physical sciences. Although the FY06 budget
will be tight, it is essential to fund basic research in the physical
sciences to develop the innovations that drive the growth of our economy.
Such support is really an investment in our future.
It is important that many members of Congress sign the letter to
demonstrate strong bipartisan support. Please contact your Representative
and ask them to sign the Biggert-Schiff-Tauscher Dear Colleague and
to support increased funding for DOE's Office of Science. The deadline
for signing the letter is April 22, 2005, so the most efficient way
to reach your representative is by phone, fax or email.
To determine who your Representative is, go to www.house.gov and
zip code. The link will also provide the contact information for your
Representative, so you can call, fax or email them.
1. Call your Representative's Washington, DC office.
You may obtain the phone number from their official website (via
www.house.gov) or you may call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121)
and ask to be connected to Representative [name] office. NOTE: You
know the name of your Representative prior to calling the switchboard;
will not be able to tell you who your member of Congress is.
Ask to speak to the legislative assistant responsible for NSF. When
connected: Encourage the staffer to have Representative [name] sign
Biggert-Schiff-Tauscher NSF Dear Colleague letter. Be prepared to
important NSF funding is to your research, academic department/institution,
and/or your community. Legislative staff are busy, so you may be asked
you would like to leave a voice mail - you do. Simply convey the same
information you would have if you spoke to the staffer in person,
sure to leave your contact information.
2. E-Mail or Fax your Representative
Your Representative's e-mail addresses and fax numbers are available
on their website at www.house.gov.
Tips for an effective e-mail or fax message:
-Be sure that the subject line in your e-mail is clear: Please sign
the Biggert-Schiff-Tauscher DOE Dear Colleague, or Request Rep. [name]
support increased funding for NSF.
-Be sure that you include your contact information at the top of
the e-mail/letter; this must include your name, mailing address, phone
number and e-mail address. NOTE: many offices will discard correspondence
that does not include contact information, or that comes from outside
of their district.
-In the opening paragraph of your message, clearly state that you
are writing to ask that your Representative sign the Biggert-Schiff-Tauscher
DOE Dear Colleague letter. Tell them that the letter requests that
Congress increase funding for the DOE's Office of Science.
-Briefly explain why DOE funding for basic research is important
to you and/or your institution (e.g., only source of funding for your
area of research, helps support undergraduate/graduate student research
experience, leads to innovation, etc). You may want to specifically
mention the importance of geoscience research, which is not listed
in the text of the Dear Colleague letter.
You can also find more information on DOE's budget at the Government
Affairs website (http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/appropsfy2006_energy.html)
Representatives Biggert, Schiff and Tauscher anticipate collecting
signatures through April 22, 2005, so please contact your Representative
as soon as possible.
Please fax or e-mail a copy of your letter to AGI at Government Affairs
Program, 422King Street, Alexandria VA 22302-1502; fax 703-379-7563;
Many thanks for taking the time to be an active citizen-scientist!
Text of Biggert-Schiff-Tauscher Dear Colleague Letter
Dear Chairman Hobson and Ranking Member Visclosky:
As you begin your work on the fiscal year 2006 Energy and WaterAppropriations
bill, we write to thank you for your strong support in recent years
for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science. We also write
to express our strong support for the DOE
Office of Science and the world class scientific research that it
supports. To this end, we encourage you to significantly increase
fiscal year 2006 funding for the DOE Office of Science above the level
appropriated in fiscal year 2005.
The DOE Office of Science supports over 40 percent of basic research
in the physical sciences - more than any other federal agency - making
it the nation's primary supporter of research in physics, chemistry,
biological sciences, environmental sciences, mathematics and computing,
and engineering. Furthermore, the DOE Office of Science supports a
unique system of programs based on teams of scientists focused on
national priorities in scientific research, and large-scale, specialized
user facilities, which are utilized by 19,000 researchers, nearly
half of whom are university faculty and students. This makes the DOE
Office of Science unique among, and complementary to, the scientific
programs of many other federal science agencies, including the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
While federally supported medical research like that conducted by
the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has doubled in recent years,
funding for research in the physical sciences has experienced little
or no growth over the last three decades, and has actually been in
a steady decline as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Because its budget, in constant dollars, remains at its 1990 level,
the DOE Office of Science funds research proposals at a rate that
is one-third that of the NIH and NSF.
As a result, Europe and Asia are threatening America's dominance
in the physical sciences as measured by the number of patents won,
articles submitted to scientific journals, degrees awarded, Nobel
prizes won, or the percentage of GDP dedicated to research and development.
Furthermore, test scores show that American youth, as they progress
through the education system, fall further and further behind their
counterparts in other counties, especially when it comes to math and
That is why the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
recommended in 2002 that research and development for the physical
sciences and engineering should be brought to parity with the life
sciences over five budget cycles. More recently, the DOE Office of
Science released a twenty-year facilities plan and a strategic plan
that prioritize research and facilities across scientific disciplines
based on funding levels in the energy bill. The result of lengthy
deliberations, a disciplined management approach, and some very tough
choices, these plans provide the scientific vision that will enable
America to benefit from 21st century science.
Even with the generous 4.3 percent increase you provided for the
DOE Office of Science in fiscal year 2005, and passage of energy legislation
in the 108th Congress that increased authorized funding for the DOE
Office of Science, we have a long way to go to make up for years of
inadequate budgets. Unfortunately, the proposed budget for fiscal
year 2006 would reduce funding for the DOE Office of Science, curtailing
its core research programs, substantially scaling back operating times
for its many user facilities, and delaying or canceling the construction
of next generation facilities.
Instead, an increase is needed and warranted, even during this time
of tight budgets. Economic experts maintain that during the last half-century,
science-driven technology has accounted for more than 50 percent of
the growth of the U.S. economy. To maintain our national competitiveness
and ensure America's economic, energy, homeland, and national security
for the next fifty years, we must provide strong support today for
basic research across the disciplines. That is why we urge you to
provide increased funding for the DOE Office of Science, enabling
it to attract the best minds, educate the next generation of scientists
and engineers, support the construction and operation of modern facilities,
and continue to provide the quality of scientific research that has
been its trademark for so many years.
Thanks again for your strong support for the DOE Office of Science.
We are cognizant of the difficult budget situation under which your
subcommittee is working, and we urge you to contact us if we may be
of assistance in any way.
Alert prepared by Linda Rowan, AGI Director of Government Affairs
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted April 14, 2005