Time is of the Essence: Letter in Support of the National Science Foundation

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Publication date: 
29 February 2008

Now is the time for constituents to express their support for a significantly higher FY 2009 budget for the National Science Foundation.  Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Rush Holt (D-NJ),  Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Brian Baird (D-WA) have sent a letter to all of the Members of the House of Representative asking them to sign the below letter in support of a $7.326 billion budget for NSF in FY 2009.  This letter will be sent to the Chairman and Ranking Republican Member of the House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee.       

Time is of the essence.  The House Appropriations Committee has set a firm mid-March deadline for the receipt of all such letters of support.  Members wishing to sign this letter must do so by March 12.

Members of Congress receive many of these “Dear Colleague” letters every day.  A letter is far more likely to be acted upon if constituents contact their representative asking them to sign the letter.  Guidance in contacting a Member of Congress can be viewed at http://www.aip.org/gov/nb1.html

The full text of this letter follows:

“Dear Chairman Mollohan and Ranking Member Frelinghuysen,

“We are writing to thank you for your past support for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and to ask you to continue that support in the FY 2009 appropriations bill. Our request is to uphold the fiscal year 2009 funding level of the American COMPETES Act of $7.326 billion for the National Science Foundation.

“In 2007, a pathway was established to double the budget of the NSF over the course of 10 years. The priority recommendation of an esteemed panel of the National Academies, the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report, served as the catalyst for Congress and the Administration to find consensus on the doubling path for the physical sciences. The National Academies’ convincing report warned that the U.S. must invest in fundamental research or our innovation pipeline will deteriorate.

“Despite the evidence and overwhelming support for the COMPETES Act, which was signed into law in August 2007, funding for NSF fell short of the ten-year doubling path in both the FY07 and FY08 appropriations cycles. Cumulatively, NSF was funded $500 million below the request in the past two years. Our request – as authorized by the COMPETES Act – adds this amount to the funding requested for NSF by the Administration in FY09 ($6.854 billion) in order to restore these deficits. This will put the NSF back on its doubling path.

“A renewed commitment to core basic research and educational programs at NSF is essential to meet the enormous promise of scientific innovation, to better train future scientists, engineers, and technicians, and to promote the success of multidisciplinary initiatives, including biotechnology and nanotechnology. We now need to make substantial investments in the physical sciences and engineering. NSF is the core agency for these endeavors.

“Past investments in NSF have contributed greatly to major technological advances in areas and industries that are critical for U.S. economic growth and defense. We respectfully request that you continue the flow of such advances in the FY09 budget by funding NSF at $7.326 billion.”

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