A letter in support of the $6.43 billion request for the National Science Foundation signed by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Senator Christopher Bond (R-MO) is now in circulation on Capitol Hill. Lieberman and Bond are asking their Senate colleagues to sign this letter to demonstrate their support of the Foundation’s FY 2008 request.
The letter will be sent to the senior Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. Similar letters have been successful and have drawn bipartisan support for the NSF (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/012.html .)
Under the FY 2008 request which this letter endorses, the National Science Foundation budget would increase from $5,916.2 million to $6,429.0 million, which would keep the foundation on approximately a doubling path. Reaction to the overall NSF request was positive last week at House appropriations hearings that stretched over two days. The foundation will be before a Senate appropriations subcommittee later this week. These hearings will be summarized in a future FYI.
As previously stated, Members of Congress are far more likely to sign a letter if contacted by their constituents. Information on communicating with Members can be found at http://www.aip.org/gov/commcong.html . Note that government resources should not be used to contact Members of Congress. NSF maintains a state-by-state program award data base at http://www.nsf.gov/about/congress/nsf-congress-awards.jsp
The Lieberman-Bond letter to Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) follows:
“Dear Chairman Mikulski and Ranking Member Shelby:
“We are writing to request that you uphold the President's budget request for the National Science Foundation (NSF). For FY 2008, the Administration's budget allocates $6.43 billion to the NSF, a 7.8% increase over the FY 2007 NSF budget.
“As you know, the NSF has suffered from budgetary constraints in recent years, and even experienced budget reductions in FY 2005. Due to your foresight, the NSF was saved from a budget crisis in FY 2007. Your hard work in preserving the original subcommittee request of $5.99 billion has kept the goal of doubling basic research investment over ten years a reality.
“Increased funding for NSF is critical for our nation's universities. The NSF provides 20 percent of all federally funded research dollars for America's institutions of higher learning. NSF funding also promotes science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in the United States.
“It is vital to our nation's future economic prosperity and security that we renew and refocus our attention to basic scientific research, science and engineering education, graduate education, and the policies that encourage innovation. The rapidly changing world of commerce and science demands that we take action if we hope to remain the world's recognized economic and innovation leader.
“Additional funding for the NSF helps enable the development of innovative technologies, and provided an educated workforce that is at the heart of our economy. This, coupled with other federal research and aggressive private investments in scientific and technological research has resulted in a dynamic. robust, and growing economy that is the envy of the world. As the 21st Century blossoms, we must revitalize our commitment to strengthen the pillars of American innovation and competitiveness - basic research and education.”