It did not take long for the Coalition on National Science Funding to issue a letter critical of the draft FY 2005 VA, HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill that would cut next year's National Science Foundation budget by 2%. CNSF, a well-recognized coalition of over 90 professional societies, universities, and corporations, has long been active in advocating for the National Science Foundation. The American Institute of Physics and several of its Member Societies - the American Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Society, American Physical Society, and Optical Society of America - are CNSF members. The coalition's website is http://www.cnsfweb.org/
The following is the full text of the July 22 CNSF statement that was sent to the Members of the House of Representatives:
"The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) is extremely concerned with the FY 2005 U.S. House of Representatives VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee budget mark for the National Science Foundation (NSF). This mark of $5.47 billion is two percent less than the current FY 2004 NSF budget and is five percent less than the President's FY 2005 budget request for the NSF. Reduction in the NSF budget will curtail many current research efforts and inhibit new program starts - putting at risk this country's leadership in many scientific fields.
"This budget action is diametrically opposite of Public Law (PL) 107-368, authorizing a doubling of the NSF budget over five years. This action is also contrary to the sentiment of a recent bipartisan ‘Dear Colleague' letter sent to VA-HUD Subcommittee Chairman Walsh and Ranking Minority Member Mollohan this spring, signed by 157 Members of the House of Representatives, asking that the NSF be considered for a significant budget increase [see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/046.html].
"We urge the full House Appropriations Committee and the full House of Representatives to provide a significant increase to the NSF budget during consideration of the VA-HUD bill. We ask that this increase reflect the spirit of PL 107-368 and the recent ‘Dear Colleague' letter.
"Chairman Walsh and Ranking Minority Member Mollohan are supporters of the NSF. Their support over the last several years has helped the NSF budget grow to its current level. The CNSF realizes that the FY 2005 mark is mostly the product of an inadequate allocation to the VA-HUD Subcommittee. However, even in tough budget environments, adequate investment in the nation's research enterprise should be a priority.
"The NSF is one or our nation's greatest tools for the promotion and advancement of scientific, mathematical, and engineering research and education. Although NSF accounts for only 4% of federal R&D spending, it supports nearly 50% of the non-medical basic research at our colleges and universities. It funds research in new frontiers of scientific inquiry and contributes to creating a highly skilled, competitive workforce in science and engineering. It is imperative that the NSF be adequately funded so that the nation's research enterprise is robust."