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Ask your Representative to Co-Sign the Ehlers-Holt NSF Letter to House Appropriators

Jack O. Burns, Chair Committee on Astronomy and Public Policy
Kevin B. Marvel, Deputy Executive Officer


Congressmen Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) and Rush Holt (D-NJ) have written a letter to the appropriations committee responsible for funding NSF, the Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce, asking that they provide $6.02B for NSF, as proposed by the President.

Such letters gain importance through the number of other members of the House willing to co-sign the document. Currently, the letter has 116 co-signers, listed below.

AAS members are encouraged to check this list to see if their Representative (go to to find out who your Representative is), and call their Representative before MARCH 31, 2006 and ask them to co-sign the Ehlers-Holt NSF Dear Colleague letter.

Staff members for your Representative may contact either Mr. Ehler's staffer or Holt's staffer [Julia Warner in Rep. Ehlers' office (x53831) or Deborah Koolbeck in Rep. Holt's office (x55801)] to sign up prior to close of business on 31 March.

If AAS members can generate even just a handful of additional co-signers, we will increase our profile among the various science societies participating in this effort and directly benefit the NSF budget.

List of Co-signers as of 17 March 2006

Rep. Neil Abercrombie
Rep. Gary Ackerman
Rep. Tom Allen
Rep. Robert Andrews
Rep. Tammy Baldwin
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett
Rep. Shelley Berkley
Rep. Howard Berman
Rep. Judy Biggert
Rep. Tim Bishop
Rep. Sherwood Boehlert
Rep. Jo Bonner
Rep. Madeleine Bordallo
Rep. Rick Boucher
Rep. Robert Brady
Rep. Sherrod Brown
Rep. Ken Calvert
Rep. Lois Capps
Rep. Michael Capuano
Rep. Ben Cardin
Rep. Dennis Cardoza
Rep. Russ Carnahan
Rep. Ben Chandler
Rep. William Lacy Clay
Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver
Rep John Conyers
Rep. Jim Cooper
Rep. Jim Costa
Rep. Jerry Costello
Rep. Lincoln Davis
Rep. Peter DeFazio
Rep. Diana DeGette
Rep. William Delahunt
Rep. Rosa DeLauro
Rep. Charlie Dent
Rep. John Dingell
Rep. Mike Doyle
Rep. Vern Ehlers
Rep. Eliot Engel
Rep. Phil English
Rep. Anna Eshoo
Rep. Bob Etheridge
Rep. Barney Frank
Rep. Jim Gerlach
Rep. Wayne Gilchrest
Rep. Charles Gonzalez
Rep. Al Green
Rep. Raul Grijalva
Rep. Gil Gutknecht
Rep. Ralph Hall
Rep. Katherine Harris
Rep. JD Hayworth
Rep. Stephanie Herseth
Rep. Maurice Hinchey
Rep Rush Holt
Rep. Mike Honda
Rep. Darlene Hooley
Rep. Bob Inglis
Rep. E.B. Johnson
Rep Tim Johnson
Rep. Sue Kelly
Rep. Dave Kildee
Rep. Ron Kind
Rep John Larson
Rep. Jim Leach
Rep. Sander Levin
Rep. John Lewis
Rep. Dan Lipinski
Rep. Zoe Lofgren
Rep. Stephen Lynch
Rep. Carolyn Maloney
Rep. Doris Matsui
Rep. Thad McCotter
Rep Jim McDermott
Rep. James McGovern
Rep. Mike McIntyre
Rep. Michael McNulty
Rep. Gregory Meeks
Rep. Michael Michaud
Rep. Brad Miller
Rep. Dennis Moore
Rep. Gwen Moore
Rep. Jim Moran
Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Rep. Richard Neal
Rep. James Oberstar
Rep. Tom Osborne
Rep. Major Owens
Rep. Frank Pallone
Rep. Bill Pascrell
Rep. Donald Payne
Rep. Jon Porter
Rep. David Price
Rep. Nick Rahall
Rep. Charles Rangel
Rep. David Reichert
Rep. Silvestre Reyes
Rep. Mike Rogers
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger
Rep. Bobby Rush
Rep. Bernard Sanders
Rep. Adam Schiff
Rep. Allyson Schwartz
Rep. Joe Schwarz
Rep. Adam Smith
Rep. Lamar Smith
Rep. Vic Snyder
Rep. Pete Stark
Rep. Bart Stupak
Rep. Ellen Tauscher
Rep. Mike Thompson
Rep. Tom Udall
Rep Chris Van Hollen
Rep. Henry Waxman
Rep. Lynn Woolsey
Rep. David Wu

The Text of the Ehlers-Holt NSF Letter to House Appropriators

Dear Chairman Wolf and Ranking Member Mollohan:

Thank you very much for your leadership in increasing federal funding for basic science research. As supporters of scientific research and education, we respectfully ask that you make the National Science Foundation (NSF) funding a priority again and provide $6.02 billion in your fiscal year 2007 Science, State, Justice and Commerce (SSJC) Subcommittee appropriations legislation. This is the level requested by the President's budget.

In previous years, we have made a similar bipartisan request along with many of our colleagues, seeking increased funding for an agency that has suffered budget stagnation and even a budget cut in fiscal year 2005. This year, however, we are heartened that the budget request for the NSF includes a substantial increase for the "high-leverage fields of physical sciences and engineering" as part of the proposed American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI). This boost in funding would allow for new innovative technologies to be developed by NSF scientists and engineers. While we lament that in previous years we fell far short of the authorized levels of funding for NSF, we believe that meeting the President's request for NSF in fiscal year 2007 represents the first year of a ten-year commitment to the doubling of the NSF budget.

The proposed ACI focuses funding on scientific research and facilities at NSF that fuel innovation. Clearly the government plays a role in innovation, as two-thirds of U.S.
patents cite federal funding as their source of support. Federally funded basic research has cultivated groundbreaking technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), global positioning systems (GPS), human genome mapping, lasers, fiber optics and many, many more.
NSF research supports technologies that are later applied by other agencies, ranging from Doppler radar, which has saved many lives through accurate weather forecasts, to laser-guided weapons, which have revolutionized combat. Recently, NSF has pioneered cutting-edge research in cyberinfrastructure, the information technology-based infrastructure increasingly essential to science and engineering leadership in the 21st Century. As other nations are significantly increasing their funding of basic research, the U.S. must recognize that leadership in science and technology is not something we can take for granted.

NSF is also a key supporter of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. Now, more than ever, we must invest in our children's education to develop their talent, ensure their success, and maintain the quality of our workforce and economic strength. NSF, with its expertise in merit-review awards, is uniquely positioned to contribute to math and science education and directly impact our nation's competitiveness. Elementary, middle- and high-school students participating in the NSF Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program showed significant improvements in mathematics proficiency test scores, according to a first analysis of results. NSF education endeavors are complementary to those of the Department of Education, as NSF research provides the foundation for much of the applications promoted by the Department of Education. In the words of Craig Barrett, the Chairman of the Intel Corporation, "If you look at the driving forces for today's economy, it happens to be the high-tech area. You can't be successful in those fields if you don't have a workforce that understands mathematics and science." We strongly support the educational mission of the NSF, and request that if it is possible to devote any additional funds from other agency portions of your allocation, they would be added to the President's request for the education directorate (EHR) of NSF.

We recognize this significant increase is requested at a time when other agencies with the SSJC account may be suffering cuts. Please preserve funding for the NSF at the level requested by the President, and do not allow the NSF portion of the ACI to be depleted by competing interests.
Though NSF receives only four percent of the total federal research and development budget, it is the bedrock of our scientific strength and provides the basis for innovation and development throughout our economy.

We respectfully request that you fund NSF at the President's requested level of $6.02 billion in fiscal year 2007. We cannot afford to shortchange the fundamental sciences on which our future and our children's future depend.

Mailed to US members from 17 March 2006

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