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) and Rush
Holt (D-NJ) are collecting signatures for a Dear Colleague letter
that requests increased funding for the National Science Foundation
(NSF). The letter will be sent to the House Subcommittee on Science,
State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations subcommittee which has
jurisdiction over the NSF.
The Ehlers-Holt Dear Colleague letter requests that Congress provide
$6.1 billion for NSF in fiscal year 2006. The President's request
for this year is $5.6 billion -- $2.9 billion less than the FY06 authorized
level Congress set in 2002. If the President's budget request is approved,
NSF will receive only a slight increase of 2.4 percent. This funding
level would leave some research directorates at or below FY04 funding
Last year, 165 members of Congress signed a similar letter. It is
important that more members of Congress sign the letter this year.
The federal budget is once again austere and quite competitive. A
demonstration of strong bipartisan support for NSF is required.
Please contact your Representative and ask them to sign the Ehlers-Holt
Dear Colleague and to support increased funding for NSF. 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 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 (www.house.gov)
or you may call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask
to be connected to Representative [name] in office [name]. NOTE: You
must know the name of your Representative prior to 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 NSF Dear Colleague letter. Be prepared to mention
how important NSF funding is to your research, academic department/institution,
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 is clear: Please sign
the Ehlers-Holt NSF 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 Ehlers-Holt NSF
Dear Colleague letter. Tell them that the letter requests that Congress
provide the National Science Foundation with $6.1 billion in FY 2006
-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/appropsfy2006_nsf.html).
Representatives Ehlers and Holt anticipate collecting signatures through
April 22, 2005, so please contact your Representative as soon
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!
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 12, 2005