ALERT: Request NSF Support From Senate

(Posted 1-19-07)


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

IN A NUTSHELL: The 109th Congress did not complete the fiscal year 2007 (FY 2007) budget. To ensure government functions, Congress passed a continuing resolution until February 15, 2007. The 110th Congress has decided to extend the CR for the full year with limited adjustments. Senator Joe Lieberman is circulating a Dear Colleague Letter, asking for an almost 8% budget increase for NSF as a limited adjustment to the new CR. Such Dear Colleague Letters are effective if they are signed by many members.

Please call or fax your senators as soon as possible and ask your senators to sign onto the Lieberman Dear Colleague Letter to support a $5.99 billion budget for NSF in the continuing resolution. Be sure to mention that the deadline for signing on is Monday, January 22nd. Time is of the essence, please call or fax a short note today.

The 109th Congress returned from the mid-term election recess and was unable to complete any of the unfinished appropriation bills. Before turning out the lights in December 2006, the 109th Congress did pass another continuing resolution (CR) through February 15, 2007. The CR means that all of the other federal agencies will be funded at the lowest funding level of three options, the fiscal year 2006 budget, the House approved FY 2007 budget or the Senate committee approved FY 2007 budget.

The 110th Congress, which started their first session on January 4, 2007, has indicated that they plan to extend the CR for the full year, rather than trying to work out a new budget for the 9 unfinished bills. This means that NSF has started FY 2007 without the potential budget increases proposed in appropriations work in 2006.

These proposed increases will be lost if the CR is extended for a full year. The 110th Congress has indicated that it might consider "limited adjustments" to some appropriations when they bring forward a new CR that will be extended until September 30, 2007.

If the CR is extended for a full year without any adjustments, NSF would see a reduction in funding of about $439 million and this reduction would translate into a loss of about 600 new research grants for FY 2007.

The Lieberman Dear Colleague Letter requests an adjustment for NSF in the next CR. The adjustment would give NSF the almost 8% increase proposed in appropriations work in 2006 and raise the total NSF budget to almost $6 billion.

1. Call your senators' Washington, DC office on Friday, January 19 or Monday, January 22 before noon (eastern time).

You may obtain the phone numbers 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 [name] sign onto the Dear Colleague Letter that is being circulated by Senator Lieberman to support a $5.99 billion budget for NSF in the continuing resolution. Be sure to mention that the deadline for signing on is Monday, January 22. 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. Fax your senators

Your senators' fax numbers are available on their website at www.senate.gov.

Tips for an effective fax message:

-Be sure that the subject line is clear: "Please Support NSF in Continuing Resolution".

-Be sure that you include your contact information at the top of the 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 your senators to sign onto the Dear Colleague Letter that is being circulated by Senator Lieberman to support a $5.99 billion budget for NSF in the continuing resolution. Be sure to mention that the deadline for signing on is Monday, January 22.

-If you have time, 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).

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 January 19, 2007