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House Letter in Support of Science Funding in Stimulus Bill

Richard M. Jones
Number 18 - February 20, 2009  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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As previously reviewed, earlier this week President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Included in this bill is an estimated $21.5 billion in scientific research and development funding for a variety of federal agencies and departments.

There were significant differences in the S&T funding levels in the initial versions of the House and Senate bills that had to be resolved in a high-stakes conference committee. In an effort initiated by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), thirty-three representatives signed a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI), Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI), House Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Senate Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MI). The letter urged “that science investments be given a high priority and that their funding be maintained at least the House levels through the conference process. Funding these critical science investments will help address both the near-term need for an economic stimulus and the ongoing need to rebuild the nation’s scientific and engineering infrastructure upon which the future of American revitalization and innovation depends.”

Rep. Holt and Eshoo also addressed the impact that science funding would have on the economy in an op-ed in a widely-read newspaper on Capitol Hill. They wrote, “Funding included in the House stimulus bill for science infrastructure, materials and equipment will create jobs now, not just for scientists, but also for unemployed blue-collar workers who are struggling to stay in their homes and keep food on the table.” This op-ed can be read at here.

The text of the letter and a list of its signatories follows:

Dear Chairmen Obey and Inouye and Ranking Members Lewis and Cochran,

Thank you for your work on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and your attention to science funding. In conference we urge you to support science funding at least the levels passed by the House.

Science investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create jobs, modernize our science facilities, and invest in the critical fields that will keep the United States competitive globally. A successful economic recovery plan should advance our nation’s research priorities and future economic growth will depend on the innovation that has driven our country since its founding.

The House version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes vital investments for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. These investments will promote both blue and white collar jobs by funding improvements to laboratories and facilities that are approved and shovel ready, and investing in the research programs that will drive innovation. A recent report estimated that every $1 billion investment in our nation’s innovation infrastructure would create 20,000 jobs.

Government investment in research and development programs spurs private investment, multiplying the effects of scarce federal dollars while leading to the discovery of new technologies and fostering innovation. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides a unique opportunity to reverse the trend of declining research and development investment and lay a strong foundation for our nation’s prosperity and ability to face energy, security, health, and environmental challenges. Investment in science over the next two years creates jobs in the short term while building a foundation for long term economic growth.

We respectfully request that science investments be given a high priority and that their funding be maintained at least the House levels through the conference process. Funding these critical science investments will help address both the near-term need for an economic stimulus and the ongoing need to rebuild the nation’s scientific and engineering infrastructure upon which the future of American revitalization and innovation depends.

Sincerely,

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Tim Bishop (D-NY)
Lois Capps (D-CA)
Michael E. Capuano (D-MA)
Donna M. Christensen (D-VI, Delegate)
Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)
Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA)
Bill Foster (D-IL)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Michael M. Honda (D-CA)
Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Dale Kildee (D-MI)
Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH)
Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL)
Dave Loebsack (D-IA)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Carolyn B. Maloney ((D-NY)
Eric Massa (D-NY)
Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Janice Schakowsky (D-IL)
Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)
David Price (D-NC)
Joseph Sestak (D-PA)
Bart Stupak (D-MI)
Betty Sutton (D-OH)
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Peter Welch (D-VT)

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