Associations and Universities Urge $7.4 Billion FY 2011 Budget for NSF

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Publication date: 
18 November 2010

More  than 125 associations and universities in the Coalition for National Science  Funding (CNSF) have endorsed a letter to key House and Senate appropriators  urging them to provide $7.4 billion to the National Science Foundation in FY  2011.  This letter comes as House and  Senate leaders are developing a strategy to provide funding after December 3  when a short-term appropriations bill expires that has kept the federal  government in operation.

CNSF  was established in 1988 and has approximately 125 members, including the  American Institute of Physics and five of its Member Societies: American  Association of Physics Teachers, American Astronomical Society, American  Geophysical Union, American Physical Society, and the Optical Society of  America.  Further information about the  coalition is available here.

The  Obama Administration requested $7,424.4 million for NSF for FY 2011, an  increase of $551.9 million or 8.0 percent over the previous year.  In describing the request, then NSF Director  Arden Bement stated “This keeps us on the road to President Obama's plan to  double NSF's budget. The plan is part of an overall strategy to increase the  nation's total R&D investment to three percent of Gross Domestic Product.”

The  House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee approved a FY 2011  bill that provided the full request.  The  bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee included almost the entire  request.

House  and Senate leaders are negotiating how to continue FY 2011 funding for the  remaining ten months of this fiscal year.   The two major choices are another continuing resolution to provide  funding on a short-term basis, or an omnibus appropriations bill that would  provide funding for the rest of the year. It is expected that House Democratic  leaders have the votes to pass an omnibus bill.   Far less certain is whether there are sixty votes in the Senate to pass this  $1 trillion+ bill.  Fiscal conservatives  prefer another continuing resolution that would extend funding into the first  weeks of the new Congress when Republicans will control the House.  Most observers predict that a continuing  resolution will be passed to provide funding through February or March.

The  November 17 CNSF letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Committee  Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), Senate Commerce, Justice, Science  Subcommittee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Subcommittee Ranking Member Richard  Shelby (R-AL), House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI),  Committee Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-CA), House Commerce, Justice, Science  Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV) and Subcommittee  Ranking Member Frank Wolf (R-VA) follows:

“Thank  you for your strong support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the  years and thus far in the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) budget process. As the FY11  appropriations are finalized, we the undersigned organizations urge you to  maintain the $7.4 billion budget level supported by the House CJS  Appropriations Subcommittee, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the  President. This budget level demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to  address America’s competitiveness by doubling the NSF budget over ten years, as  authorized in the bipartisan 2007 America COMPETES Act and promoted by the  President.

“NSF  is the only federal agency that supports research and education across all  science and engineering disciplines. This support has led to many fundamental  breakthroughs in these disciplines which in turn have contributed to U.S.  technological innovation and therefore to our economic strength.

“With  the U.S. currently experiencing a challenging economic environment, robust  investments in NSF should be viewed as part of a long-term strategy to address  our economic vitality. Such funding is imperative to maintain a prosperous  innovation pipeline, by training the innovation workforce, creating new  products and improving current products.

“Like  you, we are concerned about U.S. economic well-being. The innovation pipeline  is as important for future economic growth as it has been in the past, perhaps  even more so.

“We  ask you to continue your commitment to address U.S. competitiveness through the  vigorous support of basic research funding at NSF. Thank you for your  consideration.”