Reacting to yesterday’s good news, CRA and ACM’s U.S. Public Policy Committee issued a joint statement yesterday thanking Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and his colleagues for their efforts. Here’s the full text:
June 15, 2006
COMPUTING COMMUNITY LEADERS PRAISE HOUSE APPROPRIATORS
FOR INCREASING RESEARCH FUNDING TO AID COMPETITIVENESS
Washington, DC — Leaders of the Computing Research Association (CRA) and ACM’s U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM) today commended Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and his colleagues on a House Appropriations Subcommittee for fully supporting the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) in legislation passed by the subcommittee today.
The bill, approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Science, State, Justice and Commerce, would provide an 8 percent increase in research funding at the National Science Foundation – an increase of $439 million over last year’s level – and an additional $104 million increase to the core laboratories of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Both increases are key parts of the ACI proposed by the President in his State of the Union address last January.
“Chairman Wolf and his committee have created a historic opportunity to secure the Nation’s leadership in research in information technology and other physical sciences,” said Daniel A. Reed, Director of the Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina and Chair of the Computing Research Association. “By acting to fulfill the promise of ACI, the subcommittee has made a down payment on America’s future competitiveness.”
“We applaud this decisive action and are pleased that the legislation responds to our advice about making a serious statement about fostering innovation in America,” said Eugene Spafford, Director of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance at Purdue University and Chair of the Association for Computing Machinery’s U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM). “The computing research field is a crucial example of how federal investment in fundamental research drives economic growth. These increases would reverse a lengthy trend of flat or declining budgets in computing research that threaten to put future innovation at risk.”
“The computing research community thanks Chairman Wolf, Ranking Member Allan Mollohan (D-WV), and the other members of the subcommittee for their extraordinary leadership in support of federal investment in fundamental research,” Reed said.
The Computing Research Association is an association of more than 200 North American academic departments of computer science, computer engineering and related fields; laboratories and centers in industry, government and academia engaging in basic computing research; and affiliated professional societies. CRA’s mission is to strengthen research and advanced education in the computing fields, expand opportunities for women and minorities, and improve public and policymaker understanding of the importance of computing and computing research in our society. web: https://cra.org
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is an educational and scientific society uniting the world’s computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.
The ACM U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM) serves as the focal point for ACM’s interaction with U.S. government organizations, the computing community, and the U.S. public in all matters of U.S. public policy related to information technology. Supported by ACM’s Washington, D.C., Office of Public Policy, USACM responds to requests for information and technical expertise from U.S. government agencies and departments, seeks to influence relevant U.S. government policies on behalf of the computing community and the public, and provides information to ACM on relevant U.S. government activities.
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So, while this development is great news for those with an interest in seeing the federal investment in the physical sciences, mathematics, computer science and engineering increase, it’s by no means a done deal. As I pointed out in the last post, there are a number of significant hurdles ahead. One potentially troublesome aspect is that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) did not fare well at all in the House SSJC appropriation. NOAA, which was already facing a cut in the President’s requested budget for FY 2007 would receive even less than the President’s request in this bill (actually, nearly $240 million less!). Given NOAA’s role in hurricane warning and prediction, it’s probably not a stretch to imagine a number of Gulf Coast representatives inclined to protect NOAA at the expense of a big increase to NSF or NIST, just as an example of what may ensue when this bill gets to the floor and the amendments start flying.
The bill is expected to go to the full committee next week, which means it will likely hit the floor the following week. As we get closer, watch this space to learn what you can do to make sure the gains for science are preserved.