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ALERT: Support Investment in NSF

(Posted 3-9-10)

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


*** Support Investment in NSF in House Appropriations ***

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 Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) are collecting signatures for a Dear Colleague letter that requests a total budget for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in fiscal year 2011 of $7.424 billion, which is the same as the President’s budget request. The letter will be sent to the subcommittee on Science, Justice and Commerce of the House Appropriations Committee, which has jurisdiction over the NSF.

Please contact your Representative today by phone or email and ask him/her to sign onto the Ehlers-Holt-Inglis-Lipinski NSF Dear Colleague letter if you would like to express support for NSF. This is great opportunity to communicate with your Representative and it will only take a few minutes. The deadline for sign-on is March 17.

The staff contacts for signing onto the letter are Julia Jester in Congressman Ehlers’ office (x53831), William O’Neal in Congressman Holt’s office (x55801) or John Veysey in Congressman Lipinski’s office (x55701). Your Representative’s staffer might appreciate the name of the staff contact or may ask you (though this is not crucial if you do not have it handy).


*** How to reach your Representative ***

To determine who your Representative is, go to and enter your
zip code+4. 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 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 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 could speak 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 address and fax number are available on their website at

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-Inglis-Lipinski NSF Dear Colleague, or Request Rep. [name] support federal investments in 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 to sign the Ehlers-Holt-Inglis-Lipinski NSF Dear Colleague letter.  Tell them that the letter requests that Congress provide the National Science Foundation with $7.424 billion in FY 2011 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, or other reasons).

To further bolster your argument, you may wish to incorporate statistics from the National Science Foundation (

You can also find more information on the NSF budget at the Government Affairs website at

Representatives Ehlers, Holt, Inglis and Lipinski anticipate collecting signatures until March 17, 2010, so please contact your Representative as soon as possible.

Please send an e-mail to AGI’s Government Affairs Program to let us know about your communication.

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 March 9, 2010

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