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

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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 [Broken]

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.

From: Judy Franz, Executive Officer of APS

To: APS members

Re: Member Alert: http://www.congressweb.com/cweb4/index.cfm?orgcode=apspa&hotissue=65



I'm writing to ask your help in urging Congress to enact increases for the budgets of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) STRS account in the upcoming Continuing Resolution for FY07. These increases are critical for preserving the health of science and education programming at these three agencies.



Please go to this URL to quickly and easily send an email to your Member of Congress:

http://www.congressweb.com/cweb4/index.cfm?orgcode=apspa&hotissue=65. (See Pointers below.)



Background: Congress did not pass the Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 budget before the start of the fiscal year on October 1. Consequently, the NSF, the DOE Office of Science and NIST are currently operating at the FY06 levels, despite strong bipartisan support for significant increases that had been proposed in the FY07 budget. Before adjourning in December, the 109th Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the federal government at FY06 levels through Feb 17th. The leadership of both the House and the Senate has already announced their plan to pass a yearlong spending resolution in lieu of the outstanding appropriations bills when the 110th Congress convenes. The spending resolution, if left unchanged, will extend FY06 funding levels for the entirety of FY07.



The year-long extension of the FY06 funding levels could have severe effects on the science and education programs in the US:

* There will be a significant reduction in operations or a complete shutdown at some key national user facilities that academic and industrial researchers from around the country rely on. (See http://www.aps.org/policy/issues/research-funding/doe-analysis.cfm for a more detailed discussion of the DOE situation.)

* Scientific and technical staffing at the national laboratories may suffer reductions in force, since the FY06 funding levels do not account for salary-adjusted inflation.
* University grants will be notably reduced
o At NSF, there will be a 10% reduction in the number of new research grants, a loss of 40 planned Graduate Fellowships and $439 million in missed opportunities for scientific discoveries. (See http://www.aps.org/policy/issues/research-funding/nsf.cfm for a more detailed list of the effects that will be felt by NSF)
o At DOE, university grants could be cut by 10% or more. Due to the significant cut in funding of the Office of Science in FY06, DOE has been operating below FY05 levels. The proposed Continuing Resolution would extend these difficult levels through October 2007.



It is possible that Congress will make some adjustments for select agencies when they pass the yearlong resolution. It is conceivable that funds will be added to the NSF budget. Congress is more likely to allow DOE and the Department of Commerce to reprogram their allocations to fund the DOE Office of Science and NIST at the proposed FY07 levels, since the overall increases in the proposed FY07 budgets over FY06 for those two agencies is very small and it is the reallocation within the agency that is critical for science. If either or both of these actions are to be taken, however, , it is vital that scientist constituents urge their Members of Congress to do so. Communications from constituents are a very effective tool in influencing Members of Congress and are an important source of leverage for the APS Washington Office.



Please take a moment to write your Member of Congress and strongly urge them to include the FY07 funding levels for these three agencies in the yearlong Continuing Resolution, by simply clicking this link: http://www.congressweb.com/cweb4/index.cfm?orgcode=apspa&hotissue=65.



POINTERS:

(1) Individualizing your letter is not essential. (2) If you are a government employee, please do not use government resources to send a communication. (3) Using the above link to send your messages is straightforward and fast; the system can be used with most web browsers, but works best with Windows and a recent version of Internet Explorer or Netscape. (4) Your browser will take you to a page where you will enter your name and address. (5) After entering your address, click the “Edit/Send Email button.” A window with an individual email message to the five offices will appear. Click “Send Emails” to transmit the communication. (6) Electronic submission is preferred. (7) For technical help, write to opa@aps.org.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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Moonbear

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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 PunMed 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.
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).
 

Astronuc

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Just sprinkle "anti-terrorism" and "homeland security" throughout the grant application and it will get funded. :rofl:
 
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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 [Broken]
or call my Washington D.C. office at 202-224-4654
 
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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.
 

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.
 

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:

House Joint Resolution 20, which will be taken up tomorrow by the full House, gives NSF a $334 million increase in its $4.3 billion research account, the full 7.7% boost requested under ACI. DOE's $3.6 billion Office of Science would increase by only $200 million rather than the $505 million requested. But the legislation wipes out some $130 million in congressional earmarks in 2006 and gives office head Raymond Orbach the right to add that amount to DOE research programs. Likewise, NIST research would grow by $60 million (the administration requested a $104 million jump) because the legislation frees up $137 million in earmarks.
However, I would like to highlight this particular part of the report:

Last month, the new Democratic majority in Congress said it planned to extend that rule for the remaining 8 months of FY2007, with minimal adjustments to deal with pressing problems caused by a year-long budget freeze.

That's when the scientific community went to work. Professional and academic organizations joined other science advocates in pushing for research spending to be considered a national priority. They urged legislators to support a 2007 budget proposal by President George W. Bush, called the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) (ScienceNOW, 26 September 2006:), that called for a nearly $1 billion increase in the research budgets at NSF, DOE's Office of Science, and NIST in 2007 as part of a 10-year doubling, and to find additional money for NIH, which was scheduled for a 1% reduction.
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.
 

Moonbear

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I got this in my email yesterday from one of the scientific societies to which I belong:
FASEB has sent us this message--

It's Official!!

Senators Harkin and Specter secured a $620 million increase for NIH in FY2007.

The FY2007 Joint Funding Resolution was filed last night [1-29-2007] and includes the additional funds for NIH. While the House and Senate still must vote on the resolution, it’s more a formality at this point.

In fact, in the end, the Senators were able to accomplish the goal of receiving $7 billion more (than what the President had proposed) for the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations subcommittee (to distribute to health and education programs).

You may remember that in response to an alert last spring (to push for the additional $7 billion), FASEB society members [including SSR members] contacted their Members of Congress in numbers never seen before (more than 15,000 letters were sent).

According to the Joint Funding resolution, the $620 million increase for NIH
in FY2007 will allow NIH to award an additional 500 research grants. It will
create a new $40 million program to support innovative, thinking-outside-the-box research. And it looks to the future by providing $91 million for grants to first-time investigators. The resolution includes $69 million for the National Children’s Study.
So, yes, thanks to any and all who have helped by contacting their representatives to emphasize the importance of this issue.
 

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.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/2007_02_02/caredit_a0700014/(parent)/68 [Broken]

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.
 
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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.
 
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