Scott L. Gardner slg at UNL.EDU
Wed Aug 17 10:50:51 CDT 2005



Immediately following the August congressional recess, the Senate
Appropriations Committee got off to a quick start on trying to finish
the remaining appropriations bills. Among the bills on the committee's
agenda was the VA-HUD and Independent Agencies bill which funds the
National Science Foundation. The committee provided NSF with a total of
$5.58 billion, a $275.8 million (5.2%) increase over last year's
appropriation, but slightly less than the $5.68 billion provided by the
House committee in July. The number falls far short of the amount ($6.39
billion) required to continue the 5-year doubling path authorized by
Congress last year. However, the committee notes in accompanying report
language that "the Committee continues to be supportive ofxthe pursuit
of a doubling path for NSF funding. However, due to funding constraints,
the Committee is not able to provide such funding at this time, but will
continue to pursue these efforts in the future."

Included in the total increase for NSF is a 4.0% increase for Research
and Related Accounts to a total of $4.22 billion for FY 04. This amount
is also slightly smaller than the amount provided by the House
appropriators. Even though the Senate provided an increase to the BIO
directorate this year, core programs in the directorate stand to be cut
by approximately $8.5 million. This is due to the committee recommending
$15 million more for plant genome than requested, but only providing an
additional $6.5 to the directorate. The House provided only the
requested $75 million for plant genome research, as well as an
additional $16 million to the directorate; thus, the House bill provides
$24 million more for core BIO programs than the Senate bill. Unlike last
year, BIO was not the only directorate to not receive an increase. The
Senate level-funded the Geosciences Directorate (GEO) , which houses
ocean sciences, at last year's level. However, that amount is slightly
more than $4 million higher than requested by the administration.

The Senate also failed to provide funding for NEON. Citing budgetary
constraints, the committee declined to fund any MRE projects that are
not yet underway, such as NEON. The committee also expressed a desire to
hear the results of the NAS study on NSF's prioritization procedure for
large infrastructure projects.



As is customary in Congress, both the House and Senate Appropriations
Committees traditionally "mark up" their own version of spending bills.
Once both houses pass those bills, the houses will "conference" a bill,
working out differences in funding allocations between the two versions.

As noted above, there is a significant difference in funding for
biological sciences research at NSF between the House and Senate marks.
The House version of the bill would provide $9.6 million more to the
Biological Sciences Directorate than the Senate. Because the Senate
designates an additional $15 million to plant genome, the discrepancy in
funding for core BIO programs is approximately $25 million. The House
also provides $12 million in the Major Research Equipment and Facilities
Construction (MRE) account for the National Ecological Observatory
Network. NEON has been requested in three budget cycles; this is the
first time it has received funding in any congressional mark. (For more
information about NEON, visit www.aibs.org/ibrcs)


Biologists interested in making their voice heard should FAX a letter to
their members of Congress. In all letters, be sure to thank them for
their support of the National Science Foundation. Below is a suggested
outline for your letter:

1. Thank them for their support of NSF in the past. Mention last year's
passage of the NSF Reauthorization Act, which authorized a five-year
doubling path for the agency. (You may want to acknowledge that while
current budget situations have put this year's goal out of reach, you
hope they will continue their strong support for scientific research at

2. Mention the benefits of NSF funding to your state/district. You can
get statistics on actual award amounts for your university and state
from http://dellweb.bfa.nsf.gov/.

3. Encourage the conferees to accept the House numbers for the BIO
Directorate and NEON. The median annual award for BIO is $94,000; hence
the House would provide for approximately 250 additional grants. 4.
Offer to provide them with additional information as they find
necessary. A nice touch is to extend them (and/or their staff) to visit
your lab/department at their convenience.


ALL biologists are encouraged to contact their members of Congress to
express support for biological science funding. Unless you bring the
issue to their attention, they are unlikely to support increases.
Educating members of Congress on the value of biological science
research is essential to future growth.

If you live in any of the following states, calls or letters to the
Senators below (members of the Appropriations subcommittee handling NSF)
are especially valuable. Biologists in the states of Missouri and
Maryland are particularly encouraged to contact Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) and
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair and ranking member, respectively, of
the Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over NSF funding.

Sen. Conrad Burns (R MT)
Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R AL)
Sen. Larry E. Craig (R ID)
Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R NM)
Sen. Mike DeWine (R OH)
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R TX)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D VT)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D IA)
Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D WV)
Sen. Tim Johnson (D SD)
Sen. Harry M. Reid (D NV)

Biologists living in the following districts are also strongly
encouraged to contact their representatives, who sit on the House
Appropriations subcommittee. Biologists from the 25th district of New
York and the 1st district of West Virginia are particularly encouraged
to contact Rep. James T. Walsh (R NY-25) and Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D
WV-1), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the House subcommittee
with jurisdiction over NSF funding.

Rep. David L. Hobson (R OH-7)
Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R MI-9)
Rep. Anne Meagher Northup (R KY-3)
Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R VA-5)
Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R AL-4)
Rep. Ray LaHood (R IL-18)
Rep. Dave Weldon (R FL-15)
Rep. Mike Simpson (R ID-2)
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D OH-9)
Rep. David E. Price (D NC-4)
Rep. Robert E. Bud Cramer Jr. (D AL-5)
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D PA-2)
Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D GA-2)
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS: Do not hesitate to contact Adrienne Froelich
(afroelich at aibs.org <mailto:afroelich at aibs.org>) or Robert Gropp
(rgropp at aibs.org <mailto:rgropp at aibs.org>) if you would like assistance
drafting a letter or finding contact information for your representative
and senators.


+-< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< >< ><><>< >-+

Scott Lyell Gardner, Ph.D.
Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology
W-529 Nebraska Hall
University of Nebraska State Museum
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0514

e-mail:   slg at unl.edu
Web:      http://hwml.unl.edu
ASP Page: http://asp.unl.edu

Phone:    402-472-3334
Fax:      402-472-8949


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