Federal Stimulus Package for Science Funding

Applauding and Encouraging House Leadership - January 2009

From: Cherry Murray, President, American Physical Society
To: Members of the American Physical Society
Re: URGENT: Federal Stimulus Package for Science Funding Alert

I am writing to request that you IMMEDIATELY contact your elected representatives and let them know that the proposed Congressional economic stimulus package must include a strong investment in scientific infrastructure to ensure the future competitiveness of our country.  We also request that you contact House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to thank her for her tremendous efforts in ensuring that science infrastructure investments were included in the House stimulus package, formally known as the .American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

As you may be aware, the U.S. Congress is currently formulating a stimulus package to help spur the recovery of our economy.  In addition to the tax cuts in the draft packages being discussed, the packages include a number of infrastructure investments that would create millions of jobs.

APS has actively participated in this process by providing the incoming Obama Administration, and the leadership in the House and the Senate, with recommendations for investments in scientific infrastructure that would create more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs. 

The investments we proposed are principally in infrastructure in our national laboratories and universities, high performance computing, in procurements of scientific instruments and material for projects such as ITER, and in creation of jobs for young investigators at our universities to ensure that they have a place to go during these trying economic times.  As a result of our efforts, many of our recommendations were used by the House and Senate in formulating their proposed stimulus packages.  

On January 15th, the leadership of the House of Representatives proposed a bill that would give a significant boost to science infrastructure, including allocating $2 billion for the Department of Energy Office of Science (OS), $2.5 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), $500 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and $100 million for advanced computing.  On January 23rd, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee released a summary of a proposed Senate stimulus package. 

Unfortunately, the announcement did not offer many details about how much funding science would receive in that package.  However, we are receiving troubling signs that science may not receive the same levels of funding as in the House package and would even, in some scenarios, be cut or even eliminated.  We are therefore urging the Senate to follow the House lead in helping to ensure American competitiveness in the 21st century by making critically needed infrastructure investments.

The attached letters would 1) thank House Speaker Pelosi for her support of science and 2) request that the Senate follows the House by including a robust amount of funding for scientific infrastructure investments.

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