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FYI Number 100: August 1, 2006

From the House Floor: Boehlert's Praise for FY 2007 NSF, NASA, NIST Funding Bill

During the debate on the FY 2007 Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations bill, House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) gave high praise to the FY 2007 Science, State, Justice, and Commerce appropriations bill. This legislation, H.R. 5672, was written by Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA), Ranking Member Alan Mollohan (D-WV), and their colleagues and subcommittee staff. Boehlert's remarks follow:

"Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of this bill; and I want to thank my friend, Chairman Frank Wolf, for working so closely with me on the science portions of the bill.

"The passage of this bill may be looked back on as a landmark moment in American history. Now, that probably sounds like a lot of hyperbole, but I mean it. This bill puts us on course to enact the American Competitiveness Initiative, which will double the combined budgets of three key science agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy Office of Science, which already received appropriations in the Energy and Water bill.

"These agencies, which are not exactly on the tip of the tongue of most Americans, are keystones of our Nation's economic future. Our Nation will remain strong and prosperous only if we remain innovative, and we will only remain innovative if we have the most robust research and education enterprise in the world. And it is these agencies that help enable the U.S. to lead the world in science, math, and engineering education and in research.

"And I want to especially thank Chairman Wolf for supporting education funding as well as research funding in this bill, particularly for supporting the Noyce Scholarship Program at NSF, which attracts top science and math majors into teaching.

"I also want to thank the chairman for the way he handled appropriations for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I have said repeatedly, and the authorization act we passed last year says clearly, that NASA must be a multi-mission agency. With this bill, the House will be putting money where its mouth is. Without interfering with the lunar mission, this bill puts desperately needed funding back in science and aeronautics.

"I would like to see even more money going into science, particularly Earth science, but this is a good start, and I am especially pleased that the bill text includes explicit funding levels for science and aeronautics.

"Finally, giving the competing priorities, I think the bill does the best it can for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, although, of course, I hope that, as in the past years, the final numbers are a little bit higher. I appreciate the language Chairman Wolf included in the report, drawing attention to the concerns we all share about the future of the polar satellite program, NPOESS.

"So I urge my colleagues to support this forward-looking landmark bill.

"Guess what? It all boils down to one thing. This bill is about my favorite four-letter word. And do not get nervous. You can say it on the House floor. You can say it in polite company. That favorite four-letter word is ‘jobs.' We must remain competitive. We must retain as much opportunity for our people here at home. This bill opens the door for that opportunity."

The House passed this bill by a vote of 393-23. The Senate Appropriations Committee has sent its version of this bill to the floor, which will be considered in September. See http://www.aip.org/gov/budginfo.html for information on this bill and the FY 2007 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
301-209-3095

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