APS President’s Message Stimulates Strong Member Response
Thousands of APS members responded to a letter from APS president Cherry Murray requesting that they contact their senators regarding the need to include science funding in the Senate’s economic stimulus package.
In January, the House passed an economic stimulus bill with over $800 billion in spending intended to jump-start the economy, including a significant boost for the physical sciences. The House bill included $2 billion for the DOE Office of Science, $2.5 billion for NSF, and $500 million for NIST.
On January 28, Murray sent a letter to APS members asking them to thank House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her hard work in support of science funding.
The stimulus bill under consideration in the Senate in early February included less funding for physical science than the House version. Murray urged APS members to write to their senators asking them to include the same level of funding for science in their version of the stimulus bill.
APS has been actively involved in promoting funding for science, Murray told APS members in her letter. APS recommended 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,” Murray’s letter said.
Responding to Murray’s message, 2785 APS members had written to their senators, and 1342 had written to thank Pelosi as of February 10.
In early February, the Senate passed a stimulus bill that included much less funding for science than the House bill: $1.2 billion for NSF, $330 million for the DOE Office of Science, and $475 million for NIST. The final House and Senate compromise version of the bill, which President Obama has signed into law, provides $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, $1.6 billion for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, $400 million for the Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to support high-risk, high-payoff research into energy sources and energy efficiency, and $580 million for NIST.