Responding to two email alerts, APS members have contacted Congress and the White House to urge them to support the physical sciences.
A message in December to all APS members in the US from then President Marvin Cohen encouraged them to write to their congressmen, asking for an increase in the DOE science budget. The alert was sent after the Congress passed the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which reduced funding for the DOE’s Office of Science for FY06 by $17 million from FY05, a 0.5% reduction.
Nearly two thousand APS members responded to the alert, sending letters to their Senators and Representatives asking them to correct those losses by contacting the Office of Management and Budget to request higher funding levels for the DOE Office of Science for FY07.
“The consequences of these cuts are grave and will cripple some of the top rate facilities that researchers from around the country and around the world have come to rely on,” the letter reads. “Increased federal investment in basic research today will ensure America’s prosperity and security propagates well into the future.”
President Bush’s budget request for FY07 includes $4.1 billion for the DOE Office of Science, a 14.1% increase over current funding (see the Washington Dispatch).
Another alert, sent in January to the 5862 US members of the APS Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics, urged FIAP members to write to the White House to ask President Bush to use the State of the Union address and FY07 budget to bring focus to issues of competitiveness and innovation.
In response, 335 FIAP members contacted the White House. President Bush did discuss these issues in his State of the Union speech, in which he announced an American Competitiveness Initiative, which would encourage innovation, double federal funding for basic research in the physical sciences over the next ten years, and train more teachers in math and science.
It is difficult to to know exactly how much effect these alerts had, but it’s important that APS members contact Congress, said Kimberly Regan, APS Policy Fellow. “We’re excited to see that our members are active. We encourage an even larger response. The members of Congress are listening.”
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Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff