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Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2007 - Your action is needed!

  1. Jan 9, 2007 #1

    ZapperZ

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    If you are not aware of this, here's a brief sypnosis.

    The new US Congress has decided that, rather than try to rewrite the budget for Fiscal year 2007 that was approved by the previous House, they are just going to adopt the 2006 budget as the continuing resolution. This is disasterous for science funding, and physical science in particular that has suffered for the past 6 years with diminished budget. Due to the raise in cost, this continuation with the 2006 budget will effectively mean a 6 to 10% budget cut, and also delay or cancelled projects that have been scheduled to begin in 2007. Major facilities such as RHIC, JLab, and even the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne are seriously considering layoffs, shutdowns, and even cancellation of all work due to this.

    For more on this debacle, please read the following links:

    1. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/314/5806/1666a
    2. http://www.aps.org/policy/opa/funding.cfm
    3. http://www.newsobserver.com/114/story/530006.html

    If you are a US resident, especially if you are a US citizen and a registered voter, your action is truly needed to contact your representatives and urge them to restore fundings to the sciences that both parties in congress and the President have agreed to previously. The physical science especially have been bettered for the past 6 years with diminished fundings, and there is only so much we can take before severe long-term and short-term damage will occur (assuming it hasn't started already). Major high energy physics experiments, for instance, will be gone completely from US soil for the first time in the history of this field of study by end of 2009!

    Quoted below is the letter from the American Physical Society (APS), urging its members to act now. I am urging you, even if you are not an APS member, to follow the links given and use the template to contact your representatives. Your involvement is severely needed here.

    Thank you.

    Zz.

     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2007 #2

    Moonbear

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    In addition to the affected funding agencies already listed above, this continuing resolution would also impact the Health and Human Services (HHS) budget, which includes funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH grants are what funds the majority of biomedical research in this country. Both the House and Senate versions of the 2007 appropriations budget included a $2 billion increase over 2006 funding levels (a much needed increase), which will be lost if this CR is passed to hold funding at 2006 levels.

    Scientific research of all kinds has been very neglected for quite a few years now, and as Zz pointed out, this needs to change very soon to avoid shutting down of research programs across the country. The proposed 2007 budget was making some headway, and to instead hold us at the 2006 funding levels is going to have very negative consequences on research.
     
  4. Jan 9, 2007 #3
    This does not only affect research, but may also have a not so insignificant effect on the future availability of material from HHS that can be used for personal education. Several highly valued websites for the interested general public could possibly be affected by cost cutbacks as time goes by including PubMed and NIGMS's free publications especially designed for the general public.

    Naturally, biomedical research takes precedence over this and the above fades in comparison , but I would still like to take this opportunity to highlight it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2007
  5. Jan 9, 2007 #4

    Moonbear

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    True. And such things also end up having a trickle down effect on undergraduate education, both in terms of things like library resources available (if less is freely available through sites like PubMed, and instead requires libraries to purchase those resources, that means something else won't be bought), and in terms of tuition increases (again, if Federal grants aren't covering as much, then the university still has to come up with that money from somewhere, and there aren't a lot of other options, especially for state universities without huge numbers of rich, generous, private donors).
     
  6. Jan 9, 2007 #5

    Astronuc

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    Just sprinkle "anti-terrorism" and "homeland security" throughout the grant application and it will get funded. :rofl:
     
  7. Jan 25, 2007 #6
    I received this response from my Senator:



    Dear Mr. XXXXX:

    Thanks for keeping in touch with me. It's nice to hear from you.

    It's hard to overemphasize the importance of scientific research. Science and technology will create the jobs of the future. It will also create the breakthroughs that literally save lives. That's why I absolutely share your support for federal funding of scientific research.

    I'm a very strong supporter of science in Maryland and in the nation as a whole. As you know, one of the major sources of funding for basic science research is the National Science Foundation (NSF). As the Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NSF and NASA, I will continue to be a strong supporter of science and technology initiatives that benefit our country's economic competitiveness. I believe that we must continue the federal investment in technologies that create high-paying, high-skill jobs that will preserve U.S. leadership in the global high-tech economy.

    Increased funding of scientific research is essential to assure a firm commitment to research institutions and universities. In my role as Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, I am working hard to double the NSF budget. You can be sure that I will continue to support scientific research and development at NASA and NSF. Your comments will be extremely helpful to me as I work on space and science funding for the next fiscal year.

    Again, thanks for contacting me. Please let me know if I can be of help to you in the future.


    Sincerely,
    Barbara A. Mikulski
    United States Senator

    P.S. If I can be of further assistance in the future,
    please visit my website at http://mikulski.senate.gov
    or call my Washington D.C. office at 202-224-4654
     
  8. Jan 25, 2007 #7

    ZapperZ

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    Good for you!

    I have heard from 3 people previously that they got some responses, even if they were form letters.

    I just hope that the support for science does not have to wait for Fiscal 2008. It is suffering NOW, and the continuing resolution till the end of Fiscal 2007 will be disasterous for many.

    Zz.
     
  9. Jan 25, 2007 #8

    ZapperZ

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    BTW, Thank You to everyone who wrote to their representatives! Regardless on whether Congress will enact some form of relief for NSF and DOE fundings, your help and participation are greatly appreciated!

    Zz.
     
  10. Jan 31, 2007 #9

    ZapperZ

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    An update on this issue.

    It appears that there is a possible hope in the near future that Congress might after all provide relief to the science funding for FY 2007. Please read the news report from Science: (I'm guessing one can see this without subscription)

    http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/130/1

    In particular, this sounds very encouraging:

    However, I would like to highlight this particular part of the report:

    I am extremely proud of everyone who has helped, especially those who wrote to their representatives in urging then to correct this oversight. While we are not out of the woods yet (and I will believe this after it is signed by the president and the money starts arriving), I want to thank everyone who has participated in this. If this budget plan goes through, we might be able to salvage several different projects that are slated to be reduced or even eliminated this year.

    Well done, people! Way to go!

    Zz.
     
  11. Jan 31, 2007 #10

    Moonbear

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    I got this in my email yesterday from one of the scientific societies to which I belong:
    So, yes, thanks to any and all who have helped by contacting their representatives to emphasize the importance of this issue.
     
  12. Feb 2, 2007 #11

    ZapperZ

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    Just a couple more followups on this.

    The House has officially passed the bill from the appropriation committee

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/01/washington/01spend.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    This is a terrific article on how we got into this mess in the first place, and what would have occurred had the mess continued.

    http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.or...icles/2007_02_02/caredit_a0700014/(parent)/68

    While we had averted what could have been a major disaster, let's not forget that basic science funding, especially in basic physics research, is still in a hole. The Tevatron is still scheduled to be shut down completely by the end of 2009, ending ALL high energy physics collider experiment on US soil. So the place that gave birth to high energy physics experiments will relinquish its leading role to Europe and Japan.

    So while this new budget gives the US researchers some reprieve, the more fundamental issue on how we do basic science research and its priorities remain uncertain.

    Zz.
     
  13. Feb 2, 2007 #12
    I saw today on the news that Bush is going to ask congress for an additional $289 billion for the war in Iraq for the next two years - and that's probably an underestimate.

    You could fully fund NIH for the next 10 years at 28 billion a year.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2007
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