House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) is readying his subcommittee
chairmen to start the writing the FY 2007 funding bills. Now is the
time for constituents to contact their representatives and senators
about federal science and technology funding.
As is always the case, it is difficult to predict how this year's budget
cycle will turn out for science and technology funding. President Bush's
American Competitiveness Initiative and a number of prominent reports
and books have raised the profile of the linkage between research, innovation,
and competitiveness. The Administration's requested FY 2007 increases
for the Department of Energy Office of Science, National Science Foundation,
and the research programs of the National Institute of Standards and
Technology are notable, although proposed funding for other S&T
At this stage in the budget cycle, the Senate and House write budget
resolutions outlining general spending and revenue targets for FY 2007.
The Senate passed a resolution that was strongly supportive of the American
Competitiveness Initiative (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2006/040.html.)
The House Budget Committee's budget resolution would not provide as
much funding. The full House could not agree on this resolution for
a number of reasons, and whether the House will be successful in passing
a resolution, and the extent to which a final House and Senate resolution
can be agreed to is very uncertain. Another large unknown is how much
money each of the appropriations subcommittees will have to spend for
the writing of their bills: a good allocation is key to good agency
It is certain that funding is going to be very tight this year. Representatives
and senators pay attention to what their constituents say, especially
in an election year. The House appropriations bills that are to be written
in the coming weeks will help set the parameters for the eventual funding
bills that Congress will pass this fall.
There is an added sense of urgency about the NSF, DOE Office of Science,
and NIST funding requests proposed by the President in the American
Competitiveness Initiative. Increases of this magnitude are not often
seen, and it is felt that if this effort fails, it could be a long time
before such requests are made again. Additionally, the total funding
resulting from the projected doubling over ten years will be reduced
if the initial "baseline year" (e.g. FY 2007) funding is less
than that requested. Three messages are heard repeatedly in Washington
this spring: the FY 2007 appropriations bills are the most important
bills to the science community, that this is just the first year in
what is going to be a long effort to increase physical sciences funding,
and efforts to increase federal support for science must be bipartisan.
Now is the time for constituents to make their voices heard. The AIP
Science Policy website has the following information:
for guidance on writing to Members of Congress, and links to electronic
for information on the budget request and congressional reaction to
these requests, by department or agency.
Contact us at email@example.com if we can be of any assistance.