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ALERT: Request Increased Funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF)

(Posted 12-18-06)


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

IN A NUTSHELL: The new leaders of the House and Senate (as of January 4, 2007), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), as well as House and Senate Appropriation Committee incoming chairs, Rep. David Obey (D-WI) and Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) have stated that they plan to run the federal government on a continuing resolution for all of FY 2007. This means that the budget of the NSF will remain at the FY 2006 level for all of FY 2007 and NSF will not receive the almost 8 percent increase requested in the administration request and in congressional work in 2006.

The 110th Congress, which begins on January 4th has been left with 9 unfinished appropriation bills for the fiscal year 2007 (FY07) budget. Among the unfinished bills are the budgets for science agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, NOAA, the Department of Energy and the United States Geological Survey.

Please contact your representative and senators, requesting them to contact Reps. Nancy Pelosi and David Obey and Senators Robert Byrd and Harry Reid, urging these Democratic leaders to include increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the extension of the continuing budget resolution. Communications should reach the Democratic leaders by January 4, 2007.

As you know all other federal agencies and programs, except Defense and Homeland Security, are operating on a continuing resolution which restricts budgets to the lower of the FY 2006 appropriation, the FY 2007 House Appropriation mark, or the Senate Appropriations Committee mark. The current continuing resolution runs through February 15, 2007.

The new leaders of the House and Senate (as of January 4, 2007), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), as well as House and Senate Appropriation Committee chairs, Rep. David Obey (D-WI) and Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) have stated that they plan to run the federal government on a continuing resolution for all of FY 2007. This means that the budget of the NSF will remain at the FY 2006 level for all of FY 2007.

The NSF was slated to receive a substantial increase over FY 2006 in the FY 2007 budget. The Administration Budget Request and the House passed Appropriation for the NSF increased the agency's budget by 7.9 percent. The Senate Appropriations Committee increased the NSF budget by 7.3 percent.

********************** SAMPLE LETTER ********************************
December XX, 2006

Sample Letter for the House of Representatives (similar letter should be directed to the appropriate Senator and Senate-Elect Leadership):

The Honorable __________
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
OR
The Honorable __________
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Representative OR Senator XXX:

I urge you to ask Speaker-Elect Pelosi and House Appropriations Chair - Elect Obey to include increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), at the levels approved by the House and Senate Appropriations Committee during the 109th Congress, when the extension of the continuing resolution for FY 2007 is deliberated.

The NSF supports research and education programs that are critical for maintaining U. S. innovation leadership and sustaining economic growth in the coming decades. Investments in the NSF should not be put off for another year as continuous development and growth of our scientific foundation is essential for a robust innovative environment.

Investments in basic research enjoy strong bipartisan support. The Democratic Innovation Agenda, announced last year by Speaker-Elect Pelosi and the Democratic Caucus, calls for doubling of the NSF budget over five years, and the Administration's FY 2007 budget calls for doubling the NSF over ten years. Doubling basic research investments is a multi-year effort and the process needs to start now.

We will reap the benefits for years to come for an incremental investment of $ 439 million for the NSF, as support for basic research has time and again lead to new inventions, new industries, more jobs, and increased productivity. Increasing the NSF budget in the limited adjustment to the continuing resolution would be a simple and necessary step to ensure U.S. competitiveness.

I am a XXX [briefly describe yourself and the value of NSF to you and your community]


Thank you for your help.

Please contact XXX [provide your contact info] if you need any additional information or if you have any questions.


Sincerely,


****************** END OF LETTER ***********************************

1. Call your Senator/Representative's Washington, DC office.

You may obtain the phone number from their official websites at www.senate.gov or www.house.gov.

Ask to speak to the legislative assistant responsible for NSF. When connected: Encourage the staffer to have Senator/Representative [name] support increased funding for NSF in the continuing resolution. Be prepared to mention how important NSF funding is to your research, academic department/institution, and/or your community. Legislative staffs are busy, so you may be asked if 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, but be sure to leave your contact information.

2. E-Mail or Fax your Senator/Representative

Your Senator/Representative's e-mail addresses and fax numbers are available on their website at www.senate.gov or 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 Increase Funding for NSF in Continuing Resolution", or Request Senator/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/state.

-In the opening paragraph of your message, clearly state that you are writing to ask that your Senator/Representative support increased funding for NSF in the continuing resolution. Tell them that the letter requests that Congress provide the National Science Foundation with about $6 billion in FY 2007 funding.

-Briefly explain why NSF 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).

To further bolster your argument, you may wish to incorporate statistics from the National Science Foundation (http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/).

You can also find more information on the NSF budget at the Government Affairs website (http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/appropsfy2007_nsf.html).


Alert prepared by Linda Rowan, Government Affairs Staff

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted December 18, 2006


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