ALERT: Support Increased Funding for NSF
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 Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Rush
Holt (D-NJ), Bob Inglis (R-SC), and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) are collecting
signatures for a Dear Colleague letter circulating in the House that
requests increased funding for the National Science Foundation. The
letter will be sent to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science,
State, Justice and Commerce by the end of the week.
The "Dear Colleague" letter sponsored by Representatives
Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Bob Inglis (R-SC), and Dan
Lipinski (D-IL) requests that Congress provide the fully requested
amount of $6.02 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF)
in fiscal year 2007. A copy of the letter is attached below.
Please contact your Representative and ask him/her to sign the Dear
Colleague letter and to support increased funding for NSF. The deadline
for signing the Ehlers-Holt-Inglis-Lipinski letter is March 16th,
so the most efficient way to reach your representative is by phone,
fax or email.
Please note that the following members have already signed the letter:
Abercrombie, Allen, Baldwin, Bartlett, Boehlert, Boucher, Brown, Capps,
Cardin, Conyers, Cooper, Costello, DeFazio, Dent, Dingell, Doyle,
English, Ehlers, Engel, Gilchrest, Hall, Harris, Holt, Honda, Hooley,
Inglis, E.B.Johnson, T. Johnson, Kildee, Larson, Levin, Lipinski,
Matsui, McCotter, McDermott, McIntyre, Meeks, Michaud, D.Moore, Nadler,
Oberstar, Payne, Rangel, Rogers (MI), Schwartz, Schwarz and Smith
To determine who your representative is, go to www.house.gov and
enter your 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
must know the name of your Representative before calling the switchboard;
they 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
the Ehlers-Holt-Inglis-Lipinski Dear Colleague letter to support NSF
funding. Be prepared to mention how important NSF funding is to your
research, academic department/institution, industry and/or your community.
Legislative staff 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 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 or fax is clear: Please
sign the Ehlers-Holt-Inglis-Lipinski Dear Colleague letter to support
NSF funding, or Request Rep. [name] support increased funding for
-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 Ehlers-Holt-Inglis-Lipinski
Dear Colleague letter to support NSF funding. Tell them that the letter
requests that Congress provide NSF with the requested $6.02 billion
in fiscal year 2007.
-Briefly explain why NSF funding is important to you and/or your institution/company.
You can also find more information on the NSF budget at the Government
Affairs website (http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/appropsfy2007_nsf.html).
The deadline for submitting this letter to the appropriations committee
is March 16th, so please contact your Representative as soon
as possible. Your Representative may still sign the letter after March
16th and we are hoping to have a majority of House members support
NSF through this letter.
Please fax or e-mail a copy of your letter to AGI at Government Affairs
Program, 4220 King Street, Alexandria VA 22302-1502; fax 703-379-7563;
Many thanks for taking the time to be an active citizen-scientist!
COPY OF DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER
The Honorable Frank Wolf
Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and Commerce
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Alan Mollohan
Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and Commerce
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Mollohan:
Thank you very much for your leadership in increasing federal funding
for basic science research. As supporters of scientific research and
education, we respectfully ask that you make the National Science
Foundation (NSF) funding a priority again and provide $6.02 billion
in your fiscal year 2007 Science, State, Justice and Commerce (SSJC)
Subcommittee appropriations legislation. This is the level requested
by the President's budget.
In previous years, we have made a similar bipartisan request along
with many of our colleagues, seeking increased funding for an agency
that has suffered budget stagnation and even a budget cut in fiscal
year 2005. This year, however, we are heartened that the budget request
for the NSF includes a substantial increase for the "high-leverage
fields of physical sciences and engineering" as part of the proposed
American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI). This boost in funding would
allow for new innovative technologies to be developed by NSF scientists
and engineers. While we lament that in previous years we fell far
short of the authorized levels of funding for NSF, we believe that
meeting the President's request for NSF in fiscal year 2007 represents
the first year of a ten-year commitment to the doubling of the NSF
The proposed ACI focuses funding on scientific research and facilities
at NSF that fuel innovation. Clearly the government plays a role in
innovation, as two-thirds of U.S. patents cite federal funding as
their source of support. Federally funded basic research has cultivated
groundbreaking technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
global positioning systems (GPS), human genome mapping, lasers, fiber
optics and many, many more. NSF research supports technologies that
are later applied by other agencies, ranging from Doppler radar, which
has saved many lives through accurate weather forecasts, to laser-guided
weapons, which have revolutionized combat. Recently, NSF has pioneered
cutting-edge research in cyberinfrastructure, the information technology-based
infrastructure increasingly essential to science and engineering leadership
in the 21st Century. As other nations are significantly increasing
their funding of basic research, the U.S. must recognize that leadership
in science and technology is not something that we can take for granted.
NSF is also a key supporter of Science, Technology, Engineering,
and Mathematics (STEM) education. Now, more than ever, we must invest
in our children's education to develop their talent, ensure their
success, and maintain the quality of our workforce and economic strength.
NSF, with its expertise in merit-review awards, is uniquely positioned
to contribute to math and science education and directly impact our
nation's competitiveness. Elementary, middle- and high-school students
participating in the NSF Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program
showed significant improvements in mathematics proficiency test scores,
according to a first analysis of results. NSF education endeavors
are complementary to those of the Department of Education, as NSF
research provides the foundation for much of the applications promoted
by the Department of Education. In the words of Craig Barrett, the
Chairman of the Intel Corporation, "If you look at the driving
forces for today's economy, its happens to be the high-tech area.
You can't be successful in those fields if you don't have a workforce
that understands mathematics and science." We strongly support
the educational mission of the NSF, and request that if it is possible
to devote any additional funds from other agency portions of your
allocation, they would be added to the President's request for the
education directorate (EHR) of NSF.
We recognize this significant increase is requested at a time when
other agencies with the SSJC account may be suffering cuts. Please
preserve funding for NSF at the level requested by the President,
and do not allow the NSF portion of the ACI to be depleted by competing
interests. Though NSF receives only four perfect of the total federal
research and development budget, it is the bedrock of our scientific
strength and provides the basis for innovation and development throughout
We respectfully request that you fund NSF at the President's requested
level of $6.02 billion in fiscal year 2007. We cannot afford to shortchange
the fundamental sciences in which out future and our children's future
Alert prepared by Margaret Anne Baker, Government Affairs Staff
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted March 16, 2006