Bipartisan House letter urges President to provide strong support for DOE High Energy Physics Program

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Publication date: 
2 April 2013

Seventeen Republican and Democratic representatives have signed a letter to President Obama advocating “strong support of our nation’s High Energy Physics program.”  The March 22 letter urges prioritization of the DOE Office of Science’s High Energy Physics (HEP) program as final decisions are made about the allocation of funding in the FY 2013 budget.  The letter also calls for a reversal of declining requests for HEP in the FY 2014 budget request, now due for release on April 10.

The President signed legislation last week providing funding for the second half of the fiscal year.  Public Law 113-6 generally continues flat funding at the FY 2012 level through September 30, subject to a mandatory reduction of approximately 5 percent for non-defense programs such as the DOE Office of Science. 

In testimony last month to the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Office of Science (SC) Director William Brinkman estimated this mandatory reduction would total $215 million for SC as compared to the FY 2012 level.   Regarding the High Energy Physics program, Brinkman told the subcommittee in his prepared testimony that as a result of this reduction “Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) will face reduced accelerator runtime and staff reductions. Core research will also be reduced, impacting scientists at universities nation-wide and at DOE laboratories.”  Fermilab Director Pier Oddone commented on the impact of this reduction in an article published last week.

Last week, in an effort led by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL), seventeen representatives signed the following letter to President Obama:

“Dear Mr. President:

“As you craft your Fiscal Year 2014 budget request, and work with Congress to complete negotiations on the FY13 budget, we write in strong support of our nation’s High Energy Physics program.

“Everyone agrees the arbitrary ‘meat cleaver’ approach of spending cuts contained in the sequester was not the right way to address our fiscal challenges; however, it is worth noting that a 5% cut from HEP under the reduced levels of spending in the sequester would actually still be higher than the level of un-sequestered funding for our flagship HEP program you proposed in your FY 2013 budget request.

“As you know, our modern way of life would not be possible without our national investment in science and physics.  High Energy Physics in particular has led to the breakthroughs that fuel economic growth, job creation, and American competitiveness.  Cancer treatments using proton and neutron therapy, MRI machines, and the World Wide Web are all products of High Energy Physics research; recently the search for and discovery of the Higgs Boson particle (aka ‘The God Particle’) captured the public attention like few other scientific accomplishments.

“As you continue to craft your FY 2014 budget request, we strongly urge you to reverse the trend of declining requested levels for HEP within the Office of Science and maintain U.S. leadership in this important scientific field.  We similarly urge you to prioritize HEP activities in determining the final FY 13 budget.”

The letter was signed by the following representatives:

Robert Andrews (D-NJ)

Tom Cole (R-OK)

Rodney Davis (R-IL)

Renee Ellmers (R-NC)

Rush Holt (D-NJ)

Randy Hultgren (R-IL)

Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)

Dan Lipinski(D-IL)

Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)

Jerry Nadler (D-NY)

Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)

Kristi Noem (R-SD)

Jared Polis (D-CO)

Aaron Schock (R-IL)

Chris Stewart (R-UT)

John Yarmuth (D-KY)

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