ALERT: Support FY07 Funding for NSF
This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's
IN A NUTSHELL: Congress has not completed 9 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 and NOAA. Fiscal year 2007 started on October
1, 2006 and to ensure government functions, Congress has passed several
continuing resolutions. The latest continuing resolution is set to
expire on December 8, however, it seems unlikely that Congress can
complete their budget work by that date and another continuing resolution
is likely. Each continuing resolution is detrimental to the NSF because
it leaves their budget uncertain, reduces their total budget and delays
the announcements of funding opportunities. In addition, NSF will
lose part, or perhaps all, of the proposed ~8 percent budget increase
for FY07 approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate Subcommittee
if the budget process is not completed in a timely fashion.
Please write a letter or call your representative and senators and
request action on the FY07 budget for NSF and other science agencies
as soon as possible. The federal government cannot function effectively
with continued budget uncertainty and NSF is particularly crippled
because its main task is competitive grant funding and it cannot proceed
with grant opportunities without a budget. In addition, NSF will lose
more funding and become less effective and efficient if continuing
resolutions are extended into next year.
The House approved a 7.9 percent increase for NSF for a total potential
budget of $6.02 billion, while the Senate Commerce, Science and Justice
Appropriations Subcommittee approved a slightly smaller increase for
a total potential NSF budget of $5.99 billion for FY07. The full Senate
has not voted yet on this proposed NSF budget. After the Senate votes,
the two chambers will need to conference to resolve any differences
and then each chamber will vote again on the final budget numbers.
Below is a sample letter you may use as a template for communicating
with your senators/representative by fax or email. You should personalize
the letter as appropriate. Calling your congressional members is also
effective and you can provide the same message to the member, a staffer
or by voicemail. Communication with your congressional members should
be completed by December 4. Congress will be back in Washington DC
on December 5 to work on the FY07 budget and complete other business,
so it would be best to contact them before the lame-duck session reconvenes.
********************** SAMPLE LETTER ********************************
November XX, 2006
The Honorable XXX
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable XXX
United States Senate
Washington DC 20510
I am writing to ask for your support for the increased funding in
fiscal year 2007 for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The decision
by the House Appropriations Science-State-Justice-Commerce Subcommittee
and the Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee
to provide an increase for NSF for a total budget of about $6 billion
represents a clear commitment to strengthen our nation's competitiveness
in science and engineering through wise investments in research and
I hope that the budget can be completed before the end of the year
to avoid any reduction in funding for vital government programs, such
as NSF. NSF funds research and science education development programs
through competitive, meritorious grants. The agency cannot function
efficiently and cost effectively with an uncertain budget.
NSF provides the funding for the basic research conducted by geoscientists
and geo-engineers to deal with natural resources, natural hazards,
Earth processes and the environment. NSF also provides support for
the development of K-12 geoscience education tools, so that all students
understand the value of our natural resources and are better prepared
to deal with natural hazards. Through research and education, the
current and future generations of Americans can compete in the global
marketplace, while maintaining a vital and secure homeland.
I am a XXX [briefly describe yourself and the value of NSF to you
and your community]
Thank you for your leadership. I fully support your ongoing efforts
on the fiscal year 2007 budget.
Please contact XXX [provide your contact info] if you need any additional
information or if you have any questions.
****************** 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
Ask to speak to the legislative assistant responsible for NSF. When
connected: Encourage the staffer to have Senator/Representative [name]
support NSF in the FY07 Budget. 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
Support NSF in FY07 Budget", 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 NSF in
the FY07 Budget. Tell them that the letter requests that Congress
provide the National Science Foundation with about $6 billion in FY
-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 November 29, 2006