Congressional Letter on CR and NSF Funding

Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), and Rep. Rush Holt (R-NJ) are the impetus behind a “Dear Colleague” letter to Chairman David Obey (D-WI) and Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) of the Appropriations Committee regarding NSF funding in the FY2007 CR that will be delivered tomorrow. It currently has 14 co-signers. The letter makes all the points about NSF funding that CRA and the rest of the science research community have been making since the first CR for FY2007. Some highlights:

Specifically, we ask that you fund NSF at the House-passed, President’s requested level of $6.02 billion in fiscal year 2007. This is essential, because the flat funding for this agency under the Continuing Resolution will directly inhibit our national competitiveness and jeopardize American innovation.
The NSF is the major source of funding in many fields such as the basic sciences, mathematics, computer science, and the social sciences, and it funds approximately 20 percent of all federally-supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. If Congress only flat funding, peer-reviewed basic science research will suffer across the country. NSF-funded researchers have won more than 170 Nobel Prizes and pioneered innovations that have improved quality of life of all Americans.

CRA has sent letters to the leadership in both chambers and to the chairmen of both Appropriations Committees supporting increased funding for NSF in the CR. There is still time for all of you to weigh in with your members regarding funding levels as we have suggested here previously.
Update: As of January 16th, there are 78 signatures on the Congressional Dear Colleague. For the list of co-signers click the link at the bottom of the post.
Update 2: Sen. Joseph Lieberman has begun a similar effort in the Senate with a letter to Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Sen. Richard Shelby, the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. Highlights:

The NSF has suffered from budgetary constraints in recent years, and even saw its budget cut in fiscal year 2005. In 2007, the President’s budget included a significant increase in NSF funding, particularly for physical sciences and engineering. This increased funding will support the development of innovative technologies, and will promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. NSF funding is also critical to our nation’s continued investment in higher education, providing 20 percent of all federally-funded research in America’s universities and colleges. In their respective 2007 appropriations bills, both the House and the Senate concurred with the President’s increased funding request for the NSF.
The NSF is a sensible investment of our federal dollars. The agency earns exemplary budgetary performance scores, and all grants are awarded through a peer-review process. The NSF is unique in that a small federal investment in research has the potential to yield immeasurable results in both the short and long term.

As of this morning, the Senate letter had 8 co-signers.

Congressional Dear Colleague Co-Signers
Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Danny K. Davis (D-IL)
Daniel Lipinski (D-IL)
Bart Gordon (D-TN)
Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Bob Inglis (R-SC)
Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL)
Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI)
Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)
F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Dennis Moore (D-KS)
Dale Kildee (D-MI)
William Delahunt (D-MA)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Mike Doyle (D-PA)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Richard Baker (R-LA)
Deborah Pryce (R-OH)
Michael E. Capuano (D-MA)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Howard Berman (D-CA)
Michael R. McNulty (D-NY)
Bobby L. Rush (D-IL)
Doris O. Matsui (D-CA)
Timothy Bishop (D-NY)
John Dingell (D-MI)
James McGovern (D-MA)
Baron P. Hill (D-IN)
Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Judy Biggert (R-IL)
Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Lois Capps (D-CA)
Tom Allen (D-ME)
Doc Hastings (R-WA)
David G. Reichert (R-WA)
Bruce L. Braley (D-IA)
David Loebsack (D-IA)
Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI)
Nancy E. Boyda (D-KS)
Michael Michaud (D-ME)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Diane E. Watson (D-CA)
Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ)
Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
Stephanie Herseth (D-SD)
John Lewis (D-GA)
Jo Bonner (R-AL)
William J. Jefferson (D-LA)
Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Jim Saxton (R-NJ)
Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
John Tierney (D-MA)
Jim Moran (D-VA)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
David Wu (D-OR)
James L. Oberstar (D-MN)
Ralph M. Hall (R-TX)
Tom Lantos (D-CA)
Darlene Hooley (D-OR)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Harry E. Mitchell (D-AZ)
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Brian Baird (D-WA)
Norman D. Dicks (D-WA)
Albert Wynn (D-MD)

Congressional Letter on CR and NSF Funding