Your Help Needed: Senators Urge Increases in DOE and DOD S&T Funding

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Publication date: 
2 April 2004

Dual efforts are underway to increase FY 2005 funding for the Department of Energy's Office of Science and the Department of Defense's science and technology programs. Prompt action by constituents is needed if these efforts are to be successful.

Now circulating in senatorial offices are letters that are to be sent to the Senate appropriations Subcommittee Chairmen and the Ranking Minority Members who will make the decisions about how much money these DOD and DOE programs will receive. These two letters are among the hundreds, if not thousands, of letters that senatorial offices receive every week. Their visibility will greatly increase if constituents take the time to alert their senators to these letters, and if constituents ask their senators to sign them to demonstrate their support of these programs.

Time is of the essence, as the deadline for each letter is April 9. Constituents desiring to contact their two senators should call and ask for the legislative assistant handling science and technology or defense issues and funding. Information on senatorial offices, including a very easy-to-use locator, is at


Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) wrote to their colleagues on March 23 asking them to sign a letter to Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Ranking Minority Member Harry Reid (D-NV). The key words in this letter to the appropriators are as follows:

"We write to bring to your attention our bipartisan support for the Office of Science (the 'Office') in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Office is our nation's leading source of support for the physical sciences (including physics, chemistry, advanced computing, and geology) and energy-related biosciences. Despite the importance of these research areas to our energy, technology, and economic future, the Office's budget in real dollars is the same as it was in 1990. The proposed budget for the Office of Science in FY 2005 is $3.43 billion, essentially the same as was appropriated in FY 2004."

"The nation must have a balanced investment to maintain the overall health of science and technology research. Recent funding increases for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation cannot compensate for the need to invest in the physical sciences upon which all other science is based. We urge you to increase the funding for the Office of Science by ten percent over the request level."

The following senators have signed this letter so far: Alexander, Baucus, Bayh, Bingaman, Corzine, Graham (SC), Hollings, Kohl, Lautenberg, Liberman, Levin, Lugar, Mikulski, Roberts, Rockefeller, Schumer, Stabenow, Warner, and Wyden.


Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) distributed a letter to his colleagues on March 31 that he will send to House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Ranking Minority Member Dan Inouye (D-HI). The key words are as follows:

"We are writing to urge your continued support for our Department of Defense (DoD) Science and Technology (S&T) programs - basic research (6.1), applied research (6.2), and advanced technology development (6.3) - as you prepare to mark up the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005."

"Section 214 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 specified that it should be an objective of the Secretary of Defense to increase the budget for the Department's S&T programs annually by at least 2% above the rate of inflation. Additionally, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Pete Aldridge have supported a 3% goal for DoD S&T spending, a benchmark established by a 1998 Defense Science Board study that surveyed successful corporations and found they spent an average of about 3.4% on S&T programs."

"Funding these vital S&T programs at 3% of the total FY05 Defense Department budget will demonstrate commitment and leadership in an area critical to U.S. national security. Past research funded by S&T programs has provided the foundation for protecting U.S. military personnel and ensuring U.S. technological superiority on the battlefield."

"Competing priorities and immediate defense needs make development of the defense appropriations bill difficult. However, we must not forget that critical national security components like personnel, readiness, and procurement stand on a foundation provided by past S&T investments. We urge you to provide strong support for DoD's S&T programs in this year's defense appropriations bill."

Senators who have already signed this letter are: Bingaman, Miller, Santorum, and Voinovich.

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