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Biggert Makes the Pitch for Science, National Labs Funding: Calls on House Leaders to Support U.S. Competitiveness through Scientific Research

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13) today urged House leaders to include funding for key science programs in the upcoming supplemental appropriations package. In a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-08), GOP Leader Boehner (R-OH-08), Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI-07), and Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-CA-41), Biggert, along with House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN-06) and 29 other members of the House, requested additional resources for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science, which funds national laboratories like Argonne and Fermi in Illinois.

"The NSF and the Office of Science support vital research at places like the University of Chicago, Fermi, and Argonne National Labs - research that is crucial to America's long-term competitiveness," said Biggert, a senior member of the House Science and Technology Committee. "And unfortunately, both agencies faced drastic cuts in their fiscal year 2008 appropriations. If we don't restore this funding, we will continue to lose our nation's top researchers to our competitors in Europe and Asia. And we will continue to send the wrong message to students who would otherwise become the next generation of scientists and engineers."

The letter is the latest move by Biggert in a months-long crusade to restore funding to the labs. Since late December, she has worked with the DOE and officials from Fermi and Argonne; she has written letters to the President, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and House Appropriators; and she has testified before the House Budget Committee in support of additional funds for American research and development programs.

The full text of the letter and a list of cosigners follows:

April 17, 2008

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Republican Leader Boehner, Chairman Obey, and Ranking Member Lewis:

We are writing in support of including funding in the FY2008 supplemental appropriations bill for federal research and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education that will help stimulate good jobs and economic growth and protect U.S. competitiveness.

We empathize with the desire of many of our colleagues and the Administration to keep the supplemental bill focused on spending for the military. However, should the House choose to include additional funding, the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation sorely need an infusion of funds in FY2008 to prevent the permanent loss of hundreds of the nation's best scientists and engineers; leverage past U.S. investments in one-of-a-kind research facilities; restart research critical to American innovation and competitiveness; continue to educate the next generation of scientific talent; and restore our international credibility and commitment to the international fusion experiment, ITER.

With supplemental funding, the DOE Office of Science would not have to furlough or lay off over 550 scientists, engineers, and technical and administrative support staff at our national laboratories, leading to the permanent loss of this expertise. While the continued employment of these scientists will stimulate the economy in the short-term, their research will contribute greatly to America's long-term economic growth, competitiveness, and job creation. Supplemental funding also will maximize the run-time of user facilities at our national laboratories, making the most of past U.S. investments in unique facilities that are critical to innovation in industry and academia, and preventing U.S. companies from having to conduct their research at overseas facilities with similar capabilities. It will renew our commitment to international scientific projects like ITER and will help the U.S. retain its leadership in a variety of energy fields, including high energy physics.

At NSF, supplemental funding would allow awards to be made for hundreds of "excellent"-rated proposals which have otherwise gone unfunded. These research grants would support hundreds of graduate students, undergraduates, senior personnel and post-doctorates. In addition, this funding would permit NSF to support smaller schools' instrumentation, graduate research fellowships and support the training of science, technology, engineering, and math teachers. Without these funds, we will leave on the table innovative ideas that could solve many of our nation's pressing problems. In addition, one of the most critical needs within NSF is additional funding for teacher training through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program and the Math and Science Partnership program. Last year, Congress revamped the Noyce program and significantly boosted authorization levels for MSP to ensure that existing and new K-12 STEM teachers across the country have strong content knowledge and effective teaching skills.

Finally, supplemental funding for these agencies will send a message to young Americans pursuing - or thinking of pursing - degrees and careers in science, math, and technology that their nation recognizes how invaluable their knowledge and expertise are to the future security and competitiveness of our nation.

We have attached a copy of a letter recently sent to President Bush by a broad coalition of companies, academic institutions, and research interests expressing support for the inclusion of this urgently needed funding. The 244 signatures on this letter clearly demonstrate the real concern that exists related to investments in research and STEM education.

We sincerely appreciate your consideration of this request, which is consistent with the bipartisan America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69), the goals of the Democratic Innovation Agenda and the President's American Competitiveness Initiative. We recognize that you are preparing a wartime supplemental, and that you will face intense pressure to fund competing priorities. However, we would not be making this request if we did not believe the situation at our nation's laboratories and research universities and the need to improve STEM education warranted immediate attention and supplemental resources.

Sincerely,

Judy Biggert (R-IL), Bart Gordon (D-TN), Ralph Hall (R-TX), David Wu (D-OR), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Brian Baird (D-WA), Bob Inglis (R-SC), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Zach Wamp (R-TN), Bill Foster (D-IL), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Nick Lampson (D-TX), Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Mark Udall (D-CO), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Mike Rogers (R-MI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Robert Wittman (R-VA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), George Miller (D-CA), Heather Wilson (R-NM), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Brad Miller (D-NC), and Thomas Petri (R-WI).

A copy of the enclosure that accompanied this letter can be found below:

April 16, 2008

The Honorable George W. Bush
United States President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As leaders of America's business, academic and research communities, we are deeply concerned about the state of our country's competitive position in the world. Though there are many issues relevant to protecting our interests in the global marketplace, none is more pressing than the need for additional funding for scientific research and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

As you work with Congress on a supplemental appropriations request for the current fiscal year, we ask that you remain open to the inclusion of funding for scientific research and STEM education in any legislation presented to you for signature.

Such action will allow for the fulfillment of the commitments made in your American Competitiveness Initiative and in the America COMPETES Act signed into law last summer.

As our country struggles to stabilize our economy and build for the future, an immediate commitment to research and education funding is both timely and relevant. This is an urgent and necessary step that will enhance our country's economic strength, our competitiveness and allow for continued innovation.

Sincerely,

ACE Clearwater Enterprises
AeA (American Electronics Association)
ASHRAE
ASME
ASTRA, The Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America
Academy of Science of St. Louis
Accenture
Accudata Technologies
Action Manufacturing Company
The Adhesive and Sealant Council, Inc.
Advanced Digital Manufacturing LLC
Agilent Technologies
Allied Mineral Products, Inc.
Altera Corporation
Altshuller Institute for TRIZ Studies
Alvaka Networks
American Association of Physics Teachers
American Association of Physicists in Medicine
American Chemical Society
The American Council of Engineering Companies
American Council of Engineering Companies of Kansas
American Council on International Personnel
American Mathematical Society
American Physical Society
American Society of Plant Biologists
American Statistical Association
Apple, Inc.
Applied Materials, Inc.
Arizona State University
ASSET InterTech, Inc.
Associated Industries of Massachusetts
Association for Science Teacher Education
Association of American Universities
Automation Products Group Inc.
Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce
Battelle
The Boeing Company
Brown University
Business-Higher Education Forum
Business Roundtable
Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
California Manufacturing Technology Consulting
Carnegie Learning, Inc.
Carnegie Mellon University
Center for Excellence in Education (CEE)
CFO Advisory Services, LP
The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
CollinsConsults
Compete America
Computing Research Association
Computing Technology Industry Association
Cornell University
Council on Competitiveness
Delphi Corporation
The Dow Chemical Company
Duke University
Eastman Chemical Company
Eaton Corporation
Education Development Center, Inc.
The Education Partnership of Rhode Island
EDS
E.R. Wagner Manufacturing Company
Endwave Corporation
Entomological Foundation, Inc
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Florida State University
Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.
General Atomics
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Harvard University
Hewlett-Packard Company
IBM Corporation
IEEE-USA
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
IS Squared, Inc.
Illinois Manufacturers' Association
Illinois Technology Association
Indiana University
Indyme Solutions, Inc.
Infineon Technologies North America Corporation
Information Technology Association of America (ITAA)
Information Technology Industry Council
Inovise Medical
Intel Corporation
Intelligent Optical Systems Inc.
International Technology Education Association
Intersil Corporation
Iovation, Inc.
Iowa Business Council
JETS
Kansas Bioscience Authority
Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute
Kansas State University
Knowledge Alliance
Koller Enterprises, Inc.
Laurel Electronics Inc.
Lawrence, Kansas Chamber of Commerce
Learning.com
LSI Corporation
Lourdes College
Maryland Science Center
Mass Insight
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Materials Research Society
Math for America
Mathematical Association of America
Matheson TriGas
The McGraw-Hill Companies
Mercury Computer Systems
Michigan State University
Michigan Technological University
Microsoft Corporation
Miles Fiberglass & Composites Inc.
Molded Fiber Glass North Carolina
Moridge Manufacturing Company
Motorola
NASULGC, A Public University Association
Nanoventions
National Association of Biology Teachers
National Association of Manufacturers
National Association of Marine Labs
National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
National Defense Industrial Association
The National GEM Consortium
National Science Teachers Association
Nevada Mathematics Council
New Mexico State University
New York University
Northern Illinois University
Northwestern University
NXP Semiconductors USA Inc
The Ohio State University
Ohio Technology Education Association
Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition
Omega Design Corporation
OMRON Scientific Technologies Inc.
Online Strategic Systems Corporation
Optical Society of America
Optoelectronics Industry Development Association
Oracle
Pariveda Solutions, Inc.
PASCO Scientific
Penn State University
Perlick Corp
Photronics, Inc.
Praxair, Inc.
Precision Engine Controls Corporation
Princeton University
Procter & Gamble
Project Exploration
Public Broadcasting Service
Public School Forums of North Carolina
Purdue University
Qualcomm
R.B. Zack & Associates, Inc.
RAE Systems
Red Bud Industries, Inc.
Red Hat
Reed Elsevier, Inc.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Reside, LLC
Roaring Spring Blank Book Co.
Rockwell Automation
The Refractories Institute
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
SAE International
SAS
Salesforce.com
The Science Coalition
Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International
Semiconductor Industry Association
Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC)
Siemens
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
The Society for Research in Child Development
Software & Information Industry Association
Spansion, Inc.
Spectral Response, Inc.
SPIE - The International Society for Optics and Photonics
St. Jude Medical Inc
Special-Lite, Inc.
Stanford University
State Farm Insurance Companies
The State University of New York
Stony Brook University
SUMCO Phoenix Corporation
Symantec Corporation
Tango Networks
Teachers Clearinghouse for Science and Society Education, Inc.
Technology CEO Council
Technology Is Elementary
Tech-X Corporation
Telect Inc.
Texas Instruments
Texas State University
TietoEnator Majiq Inc.
Tirraappendi, Inc.
Triangle Coalition Science and Technology Education
TriQuint Semiconductor
Unisys Corporation
University at Buffalo
University of Arkansas
University of California
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Riverside
University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Francisco
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of Central Florida
University of Chicago
University of Cincinnati
University of Dayton
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Maryland
University of Michigan
The University of Minnesota
University of Missouri
University of Nebraska
University of Oregon
University of Pittsburgh
University of Southern California
University of Vermont
University of Virginia
University of Wisconsin-Madison
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Vanderbilt University
Verigy
Vermeer Corporation
Vernier Software & Technology
Williams-Pyro, Inc.
Xantrex Corporation
Xerox Corporation
Yale University
Zendex Corporation


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