What you can do about it:
Your voice needs to be heard on Capitol Hill! During the next few days, the U.S. House of Representatives will debate and vote on passage of H.R. 1, the continuing resolution for fiscal year 2011 (FY 11), which includes cuts as high as 29% for federal research and development in sciences agencies including: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), National Science Foundation (NSF), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE OS) and other vital science agencies.
What can you do? Let your Representative know that you do not support cuts to science, by calling now and telling him/her to vote against passage of H.R. 1. How? Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Representative's office. If you do not know who your Representative is, you can look him/her up here: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/issues/basics/?style=comm.
Note to Federal and University employees: Please be advised to check with your supervisor about any regulations concerning citizen advocacy prior to taking part in this action alert.
What to say:
When you call your Representative’s office, a staff assistant will answer the phone. When he/she answers, say:
- "Hello, my name is and I am a constituent from (Name of your town).”
- "I am calling today to urge to vote against H.R. 1 when the bill comes up for a vote on the House floor.”
- Make sure to request that they personally report your message to your Representative.
- The message above should be adequate for the call. However, if asked, you can say that:
- We understand the need for fiscal restraint, and we agree that government needs to live within its means. Spending cuts, however, need to be smart and strategic. We should not make counterproductive cuts in areas like scientific research that are essential to American innovation and to our efforts to grow our economy, remain competitive in the global economy, and build a better America.
- Cuts to government-sponsored scientific research and critical research facilities are not the types of strategic cuts we should be making at a time when we are seeking to facilitate and spark economic growth. Such cuts are unwise and would only hurt our long-term competitiveness, especially at a time when emerging economies such as China and India are ramping up their investments in scientific research and education.
- Background: H.R. 1 cuts federal research and development budgets up to 29% in some areas. Additionally, because federal agencies have been operating at FY 2010 levels for five months, and the proposed cuts would be crowded into the seven months remaining in FY 2011, the impacts of these cuts would be considerably more severe.
- Magnitude of the proposed cuts:
- Department of Energy Office of Science would be funded at $4.017 billion, which represents a cut of $886 million, or 18 percent, from the FY 2010 funding level of $4.903 billion.
- NSF would be cut by $359.5 million, or five percent, from the FY 2010 level of $6.87 billion.
- NIST would see a reduction in its overall budget of $159.5 million, or 19 percent, from its FY 2010 funding level of $856.6 million.
- USDA would see a reduction of the REE budget of $415 million, with NIFA decreasing by $217 million and ARS by $185 million. (Please see: http://www.land-grant.org/reports/2011/02-11.htm)
- EPA’s budget is cut by $3 billion, which is 29% below fiscal year 2010.
- For a full list of the FY 2011 cuts over FY 2010 enacted, please view the table posted here: http://appropriations.house.gov/_files/ProgramCutsFY2011ContinuingResolution.pdf
- The proposed cuts would cause the layoffs of thousands of scientists, engineers, extension agents, support personnel, and contractors at universities and national laboratories.
- A sharp reduction in the operation of facilities that enable U.S. scientists in industry and universities to perform cutting-edge research.
- Elimination of current government support for hundreds of PhD researchers and graduate students in university research programs all across the country.
- Further declines in the already-low grant success rates at NSF and USDA.
- Cuts to important science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs at the K-12, undergraduate, and graduate levels.
- Reductions in DOE OS, EPA STAR, NSF, and USDA NIFA graduate fellowships, traineeships, and young investigator awards.