Senators Seek Support for Letter on DOE Office of Science Budget Request

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Publication date: 
30 April 2010

Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have asked their colleagues to join them in signing a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.  The letter expresses support for the FY 2011 request for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.  Under this request, funding would increase by 4.4 percent.

Senators receive many such requests, and are more likely to act on them if contacted by a constituent.  The deadline for this letter is Friday, May 7.  Information on contacting a Member of Congress is available here.

The letter follows:

Dear Chairman Dorgan and Ranking Member Bennett:

We are writing to express bipartisan support for FY 2011 funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science of at least $5.121 billion, the level requested by the Administration.

Congress’s approval of the America COMPETES Act in 2007 put funding for the Office of Science on track to double.  The Administration’s FY 2011 budget request maintains that course and sustains the bipartisan goals of this important legislation.  Moreover, it builds upon the past commitment demonstrated by your Subcommittee in support of DOE science.

The Office of Science is the main federal sponsor of basic research aimed at achieving the scientific breakthroughs necessary to meet our nation’s need for clean, abundant energy that can ensure our future energy security.   In addition, the Office of Science is our nation’s largest supporter of physical sciences research.   Funding by the Office of Science has led to scientific breakthroughs which, among other things, have resulted in the Nobel Prize-winning discovery that ushered in nanotechnology, made possible the non-invasive detection of cancers and other diseases, improved computer models for understanding environmental and energy challenges, and led to new insights into the fundamental nature of matter and origins of the universe.  It is also important to note that research funded by the Office of Science takes place at universities, federal labs, and other facilities located in all fifty states.

Through its many world-class user facilities and programs, the Office of Science plays an indispensable role in attracting, training, and sustaining the nation’s scientific workforce.  Thousands of university researchers – professors, young post-doctoral scientists, and undergraduate students – rely on support from the Office of Science.  Approximately one-third of Office of Science research funds support scientists and researchers at over 300 academic institutions nationwide while roughly half of the researchers using facilities run by the Office of Science come from these universities.  Many more researchers from the private sector also benefit from the usage of DOE’s scientific user facilities.

In previous years, the Senate and your Subcommittee have demonstrated strong bipartisan support for increasing funding for the Office of Science.  You are to be commended for your efforts to assign a high priority to the Office of Science in light of the tremendous budgetary constraint you have faced.  We urge you to continue your support for the Office of Science this year, for we must maintain this critical investment in our nation’s future.