Help Urge Congress To Support Increases in Science, Computing Research

An effort is under way to influence the National Science Foundation’s FY09 funding early this appropriations season. Reps. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Brian Baird (D-WA) have put together a letter to the House Appropriations Chair and Ranking Member to urge support for NSF’s FY09 budget request of $7.326 billion (which represents a 13.6 percent increase over FY08), and they’re looking for more of their colleagues to co-sign. CRA has joined with many others in the science advocacy community in alerting our membership to help encourage more Members of Congress to sign on. But you can help, too! Below is the alert that we sent out to the Computing Research Advocacy Network (interested in joining?). You don’t have to be a member to participate!:

Members of the Computing Research Advocacy Network:
I am writing to ask for your help with a brief opportunity that we have to influence support for increasing funding at the National Science Foundation in the FY09 budget appropriations process in the House of Representatives. Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Brian Baird (D-WA) have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to all of the Members of the House of Representatives asking them to sign a letter (text provided below) to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee urging their support for the agency’s budget request of $7.326 billion for FY09, an increase of 13.6 percent over FY08. As you know, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funds 86 percent of all university-based computing research, so securing a funding increase at this vital agency is crucially important to the computing community. We want to get NSF back onto the doubling track.
In order for this effort to have significant impact, the letter needs as many congressional signatories as possible. We’re asking CRAN members to please contact your Representative immediately to encourage him or her to sign this letter. Members wishing to sign the letter MUST do so by March 12, so the window of opportunity is brief to make a difference. Please CALL your Representative’s office today to encourage him or her to sign.
The process is short and simple: Call your Representative’s DC office (if you need assistance finding your Congressman’s phone number, please go to the House of Representatives web site or contact Melissa Norr at CRA at or at 202-266-2944). Ask to speak to the legislative assistant who handles science issues for the Member. Explain that you’re a researcher in the Representative’s district, and that much of work performed at your institution is enabled by support from NSF. Urge the Representative to support the increase requested by NSF for FY09, and to demonstrate that support by signing the letter in the Dear Colleague circulated by Ehlers, Holt, Baird and Inglis last Tuesday. That’s it!
As of last Friday, co-signers, in addition to Reps. Ehlers, Holt, Baird and Inglis, include the following representatives:
* Mike Rogers (AL)
* Thomas Allen (ME)
* Alcee Hastings (FL)
* Betty Sutton (OH)
* Phil English (PA)
* Ron Paul (TX)
* Michael McNulty (NY)
* Jim Moran (VA)
* David Loebsack (IA)
Previous efforts have produced more than 100 co-signers. We’d like to reach at least that level this time as well. Remember, Members have until March 12th to sign on, so please call soon.
On behalf of the CRA, many thanks for your help!
— Jeff
P.S. Here’s a text of the letter we want your Congressman to sign:

Dear Chairman Mollohan and Ranking Member Frelinghuysen,
We are writing to thank you for your past support for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and to ask you to continue that support in the FY 2009 appropriations bill. Our request is to uphold the fiscal year 2009 funding level of the American COMPETES Act of $7.326 billion for the National Science Foundation.
In 2007, a pathway was established to double the budget of the NSF over the course of 10 years. The priority recommendation of an esteemed panel of the National Academies, the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report, served as the catalyst for Congress and the Administration to find consensus on the doubling path for the physical sciences. The National Academies’ convincing report warned that the U.S. must invest in fundamental research or our innovation pipeline will deteriorate.
Despite the evidence and overwhelming support for the COMPETES Act, which was signed into law in August 2007, funding for NSF fell short of the ten-year doubling path in both the FY07 and FY08 appropriations cycles. Cumulatively, NSF was funded $500 million below the request in the past two years. Our request – as authorized by the COMPETES Act – adds this amount to the funding request for NSF by the Administration in FY09 ($6.854 billion) in order to restore these deficits. This will put the NSF back on its doubling path.
A renewed commitment to core basic research and educational programs at NSF is essential to meet the enormous promise of scientific innovation, to better train future scientists, engineers, and technicians, and to promote the success of multidisciplinary initiatives, including biotechnology and nanotechnology. We now need to make substantial investments in the physical sciences and engineering. NSF is the core agency for these endeavors.
Past investments in NSF have contributed greatly to major technological advances in areas and industries that are critical for U.S. economic growth and defense. We respectfully request that you continue the flow of such advances in the FY09 budget by funding NSF at $7.326 billion.”

Jeffrey S. Vitter
Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science
Purdue University

Update: A list of additional signers as of March 6, is below.
Update 2: The letter has 126 signers as of March 17. The total list is below. Thank you to everyone who contacted their Congressmen.

Neil Abercrombie (HI-1, D)
Thomas Allen (ME-1, D)
Jason Altmire (PA-4, D)
Michael Arcuri (NY-24, D)
Tammy Baldwin (WI-2, D)
Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6, R)
Shelley Berkley (NV-1, D)
Howard Berman (CA-28, D)
Judy Biggert (IL-13, R)
Brian Bilbray (CA-50, R)
Tim Bishop (NY-1, D)
Earl Blumenauer (OR-3, D)
Rick Boucher (VA-9, D)
Nancy Boyda (KS-2, D)
Bruce Braley (IA-1, D)
Corrine Brown (FL-3, D)
Steve Buyer (IN-4, R)
Dave Camp (MI-4, R)
Lois Capps (CA-23, D)
Michael Capuano (MA-8, D)
Russ Carnahan (MO-3, D)
Chris Carney (PA-10, D)
William Clay (MO-1, D)
Emanuel Cleaver II (MO-5, D)
Jim Cooper (TN-5, D)
Jim Costa (CA-20, D)
Joseph Crowley (NY-7, D)
Susan Davis (CA-53, D)
Tom Davis (VA-11, R)
Diana DeGette (CO-1, D)
William Delahunt (MA-10, D)
Charlie Dent (PA-15, R)
John Dingell (MI-15, D)
Michael Doyle (PA-14, D)
John Duncan (TN-2, R)
Chet Edwards (TX-17, D)
Eliot Engel (NY-17, D)
Phil English (PA-3, R)
Anna Eshoo (CA-14, D)
Bob Etheridge (NC-2, D)
Bob Filner (CA-51, D)
Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1, R)
Barney Frank (MA-4, D)
Jim Gerlach (PA-6, R)
Wayne Gilchrest (MD-1, R)
Charles Gonzalez (TX-20, D)
Phil Hare (IL-17, D)
Alcee Hastings (FL-23, D)
Doc Hastings (WA-4, R)
Stephanie Herseth (SD, D)
Baron Hill (IN-9, D)
Maurice Hinchey (NY-22, D)
Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15, D)
Paul Hodes (NH-2, D)
Darlene Hooley (OR-5, D)
Jay Inslee (WA-1, D)
Darrell Issa (CA-49, R)
Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18, D)
William Jefferson (LA-2, D)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30, D)
Timothy Johnson (IL-15, R)
Steve Kagen (WI-8, D)
Dale Kildee (MI-5, D)
Ron Kind (WI-3, D)
Sander Levin (MI-12, D)
John Lewis (GA-5, D)
Dan Lipinski (IL-3, D)
David Loebsack (IA-2, D)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-16, D)
Stephen Lynch (MA-9, D)
Carolyn Maloney (NY-14, D)
Edward Markey (MA-7, D)
Doris Matsui (CA-5, D)
Michael McCaul (TX-10, R)
Jim McDermott (WA-7, D)
James McGovern (MA-3, D)
John McHugh (NY-23, R)
Mike McIntyre (NC-7, D)
Jerry McNerney (CA-11, D)
Michael McNulty (NY-21, D)
Gregory Meeks (NY-6, D)
Michael Michaud (ME-2, D)
Brad Miller (NC-13, D)
Harry Mitchell (AZ-5, D)
Dennis Moore (KS-3, D)
James Moran (VA-8, D)
Chris Murphy (CT-5, D)
Jerrold Nadler (NY-8, D)
James Oberstar (MN-8, D)
Solomon Ortiz (TX-27, D)
Frank Pallone (NJ-6, D)
Ron Paul (TX-14, R)
Donald Payne (NJ-10, D)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-7, D)
Thomas Petri (WI-6, R)
Todd Platts (PA-19, R)
Jim Ramstad (MN-3, R)
Thomas Reynolds (NY-26, R)
Mike Rogers (AL-3, R)
Mike Rogers (MI-8, R)
Peter Roskam (IL-6, R)
Mike Ross (AR-4, D)
Jim Saxton (NJ-3, R)
Janice Schakowsky (IL-9, D)
Allyson Schwartz (PA-13, D)
David Scott (GA-13, D)
Robert Scott (VA-3, D)
Joe Sestak (PA-7, D)
Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1, D)
Albio Sires (NJ-13, D)
Louise McIntosh Slaughter (NY-28, D)
Adam Smith (WA-9, D)
Lamar Smith (TX-21, R)
Betty Sutton (OH-13, D)
Ellen Tauscher (CA-10, D)
Niki Tsongas (MA-5, D)
Chris Van Hollen (MD-8, D)
Henry Waxman (CA-30, D)
Robert Wexler (FL-19, D)
Charlie Wilson (OH-6, D)
Rob Wittman (VA-1, R)
David Wu (OR-1, D)

Help Urge Congress To Support Increases in Science, Computing Research