APS News

APS President Urges Members to Take Action on Federal Science Funding

By Calla Cofield

In response to the FY08 budget passed by Congress, which fell nearly a billion dollars short in science funding compared to the levels authorized last summer, APS president Arthur Bienenstock sent two email messages to all APS members, urging them to write to Congress. The Federal Funding Alert email that went out on January 10 called the cuts a “devastating blow to basic research.”  Bienenstock is asking APS members to tell Congress to pass emergency supplemental appropriations to replace some of the cut funding.

Charles Shulz cartoon
Paul Dlugokencky (aDailyCartoon.com) for APS News

The email provided a link to an on-line form for members to write to their representatives and to President Bush, including suggested templates for the letters. At press time, APS’s Washington DC office reported that more than 3300 members had used the online form to write to Congress and the Administration.

The email, titled “Please help rectify science damage in FY08 budget,” emphasized the impact that the budget cuts will have on science programs nationally and internationally:

"The [FY08] budget, which wipes out $1 billion in increases approved last summer for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (DOE Science) and the NIST laboratories, does irreparable damage to science and abandons the Innovation/Competitiveness initiatives of Congress and the Administration.

...The request in the attached letters is to restore that funding in an FY08 supplemental appropriations bill, and to support the FY09 budget at the levels authorized in the COMPETES act, efforts that the APS Washington Office are pursuing with both Congress and the Administration.”

Bienenstock’s email also pointed out that the budget drastically cuts R&D for the International Linear Collider, and zeroes out the US contribution to the ITER project. “These actions are severely damaging to the U.S. standing in the international scientific community,” the message says.

In a second email, sent January 22, Bienenstock added “The Department of Energy Office of Science released a document last week listing the impacts to all of its programs. In addition to the damage to the Fusion and High Energy Physics programs that I emphasized last week, there are major impacts in Basic Energy Sciences (BES) and Nuclear Physics programs. The Intense Pulsed Neutron Source at Argonne National Laboratory is being closed permanently and various construction projects will be delayed...nearly 700 proposals responding to a BES solicitation for energy research have been declined.”

The online form to write to Congress can be found on the APS website. Go to the Policy and Advocacy page, click on “Advocacy Tools” and then on “Write Congress.”


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Editor: Alan Chodos
Contributing Editor: Jennifer Ouellette
Staff Writer: Ernie Tretkoff