18 January 2009

Call Your Members of Congress and Have Them Support Science in Stimulus Bill

AAS Action Alert 2009-01
Marcos Huerta
John Bahcall Public Policy Fellow
huerta at aas.org

* Summary *

This Action Alert calls upon AAS members to call, FAX or write their members of Congress and Congressional Leadership and ask that they urge the House / Senate conference committee to support strong funding for basic research in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Senate compromise bill that is expected to pass on Tuesday includes considerably less science and basic research spending than in the House bill passed earlier this month. AAS members should contact their members of congress and urge that the final bill include investment in basic research at the levels in the House bill. Investment in the NSF, and DOE Office of Science will both employ highly-skilled and trained workers, but produce innovations and discoveries that will have positive, long-term, economic dividends.

* Background *

The Senate Compromise stimulus plan includes the following science spending:

NSF - $1.2 billion (House Bill - $3 Billion)
NASA Science $300 million (House Bill - $400 million)
DOE Office of Science - $330 million. (House Bill - $1.9 billion)

The House and Senate bills will be reconciled in a conference committee starting this week. By contacting your members of Congress now, you can help increase the funding available for basic research, which will have a significant positive impact on the long term economic prosperity of our nation. Please make the time to contact Congress and use the templates below to help guide your conversation, FAX or letter.

Sample Conversation / Letter Below

* Details *

Dear Congressman Brown,

The House and Senate have each passed their versions of the stimulus bill. As negotiations continue in conference committee, I ask you to urge your colleagues to support strong investment in basic research in the final stimulus bill. Investment in science and technology create high-tech, well-paying jobs in the short-term, and pay dividends in long-term economic growth. There is no better way to stimulate the economy and promote economic grow than investment in science and technology.

The original House bill invested $3 billion in the National Science Foundation; that number was reduced to $1.2 billion in the Senate. Please support the House's levels of funding in basic research in the final bill - $3 billion for the NSF in the final bill, $1.9 billion of the DOE Office of Science, and $400 million for NASA Science.


Edwin Hubble


Staffer: Hello, Senator King's office, can I help you.

Astronomer: Yes, I would like to speak with a staffer about the National Science Foundation or science issues.

Staffer: OK, I will see if she is in right now. <pause> She can speak with you now [note; you may get voice mail, leave same message as the next bit of conversation]

Sci.Staffer: Hello, I'm Mike Scott and I'm responsible for NSF issues...how can I help you?

Astronomer: Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent of Senator King's. I am calling to ask that the Senator support strong basic research in the US by supporting the maximum possible funding for the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Energy Office of Science in the stimulus bill. I hope he/she can also encourage the conference committee to support the maximum possible funding for these agencies.

I know that basic scientific research is a key driver of our economic growth, and the NSF funds every avenue of scientific and technological research in the country. Additionally, construction of NSF projects and funding of NSF research will produce many well paying, high-tech jobs. Investment in basic scientific and technological research is key to our standing as a leader of the world in science and technology.

Sci. Staffer: Thank you for your message, I'll let the Senator know your point of view.

Astronomer: Thanks so much. If I can ever be of help to Senator King, please let me know. I am happy to help however I can.