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Action Alert: Support NSF, Contact Congress Before January 4

The 109th Congress recently adjourned. Unfortunately, the 109th only passed two fiscal year 2007 appropriations bills, Defense and Homeland Security. Prior to adjourning, the Congress approved a "continuing resolution" providing funding for federal agencies until February 15, 2007. Thus, when the new, Democratically-controlled 110th Congress convenes in January 2007, it must approve a spending plan for the balance of the FY 2007 fiscal year (September 2007).

At this time, many Congress-watchers in Washington, DC believe that Democratic leaders may be inclined to simply extend the current Continuing Resolution through the end of the 2007 fiscal year. If this approach is taken, it is likely that funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other science agencies will be provided at the lowest of the following funding levels: FY 2006; House passed appropriation for FY 2007 or the Senate passed appropriation for 2007. Under this model, the NSF be funded at FY 2006 levels; few if any of the proposals included in the FY 2007 budget request are likely to be funded.

The scientific and research communities support the administration's budget request for FY 2007. This funding is important, and begins to respond to the bipartisan pledges to foster R&D driven innovation.

Adjusted for inflation, the fiscal year 2007 House Appropriations Committee level for NSF is still more than $70 million below the FY 2004 spending levels. Moreover, NSF provides more than 60 percent of the funding for basic biological sciences research.

If NSF is funded within a year-long continuing resolution, without increased funding, NSF will be forced to make these and other adjustments:

  • Limit funding for new awards necessary to implement the American Competitiveness Initiative.
  • Reduce its planned FY 2007 budget activities by $439 million.
  • Reduce the number of new grants by at least 10 percent.
  • EPSCoR funding will be frozen, rather than allowed to increase as recommended by both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
  • Loss of 40 planned Graduate Research Fellowships.

Please contact your Representative and Senators today and ask them to support increased fiscal year 2007 funding for the National Science Foundation when they return to Washington, DC in January. Also, please request that they contact House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA), House Appropriations Committee Chairman Obey (D-WI), Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Byrd (D-WV) to ask that they support increased fiscal year 2007 funding for the National Science Foundation.

Timely communication is vital. Thus, please call, fax or e-mail your Representative and Senators today.

For congressional contact information, please visit www.House.gov or www.Senate.gov.

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