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
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 http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S OFFICE OF SCIENCE LETTER:
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.
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS LETTER:
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
"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
Senators who have already signed this letter are: Bingaman, Miller,
Santorum, and Voinovich.
Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics