COMPUTING RESEARCH ADVOCACY NETWORK
Now that the Senate has narrowly passed its version of the economic stimulus, the bill will head to conference with the House to work out some of the significant differences between the two versions — including significant differences in how the science investments in the bill are handled. The conference represents our last chance to influence the level of science funding contained in the stimulus. We are asking for your help urging your representatives in Congress to support the levels of funding for science contained in the House version of the bill. Please call or fax your representatives today to express your support for research and research infrastructure funding in the bill.
Both the Senate and the House have now passed their own versions of the “American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (H.R. 1), but each version contains substantially different levels of funding for key science agencies.The version passed by the House contains significantly more funding for research and research infrastructure than the Senate-passed version. It provides “catch-up” funding for NSF, DOE Office of Science, NIH, and NIST that would put those agencies back on a trajectory that would double their budgets over the next 7 years — a budget trajectory that was authorized by the 2007 “America COMPETES Act” but never funded. The House version of this stimulus bill includes:
- $2 billion in science funding at DOE’s Office of Science, including $100 million for Advanced Scientific Computing Research;
- $3 billion for NSF, of which $2.0 billion would go into core research programs, $300 million to the Major Research Instrumentation program and an additional $200 million to academic research facilities modernization;
- $100 million for NIST’s core research programs, $300 million for facilities, and another $70 million for the Technology Innovation Program and $30 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership;
- $1.5 billion to NIH for grants to improve university research facilities and another $1.5 billion in new research funding.
In contrast, the Senate version provides no funding for DOE’s Office of Science and just $330 million for DOE Labs (and no additional funding for Advanced Scientific Computing Research); $1.0 billion less than the House for NSF core research, $250 million less for Major Research Equipment and Construction, and $50 million less for Education and Human Resources; and $25 million less for NIST.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
The most important thing you can do now is call or fax your representatives in the House and Senate and urge them to support the House funding levels for science in the conference. A sample letter you can use can be found here (rtf).
Please complete it using your own information and FAX it to your Representative and Senators offices as soon as possible. Please also fax a copy of your letter to CRA’S Melissa Norr at 202.667.1066 — having copies of letters from our community is incredibly helpful in our advocacy activities on the Hill.
To identify your Representative and Senators visit Write Your Rep and the Senate Directory.
If you have any trouble figuring out your Members of Congress or their contact information, please don’t hesitate to contact Melissa (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
Now is not the time for contacting the agencies involved with proposals for spending these potential increases. If and when these increases are realized, the agencies will put in place processes to accept proposals for funding — and CRA will keep you informed. But, until then, the agencies are sharply limited in the advice and help they can provide. Please instead focus your efforts on ensuring that your representatives in Congress have heard from you on the importance of supporting research and research infrastructure!