55 Senators: "Boost DOE's Science Budget"

April 27, 2004
10:31 AM
Fifty-five senators today urged Senate appropriators to increase the Department of Energy’s Office of Science FY05 budget by 10 percent over the request level. Nearly a dozen additional senators have also indicated support for the budget increase. Forty Democrats and 15 Republicans signed the letter, which noted that the increase is needed to strengthen our nation’s scientific capabilities and reinforce the role that the physical sciences play in our nation’s energy security and economic growth. The "Dear Colleague" was organized by Senate Science and Technology Caucus co-chairs Lamar Alexander and Jeff Bingaman. Background: Government-sponsored research in the basic sciences formed the foundation for many of the 20th century’s greatest technological achievements, including the development of computers and the Internet, mapping the human genome and splitting the atom. The DOE’s Office of Science has made major contributions to these advancements by funding research in physics, chemistry, geology, the material sciences, advanced scientific computing and other disciplines. DOE’s Office of Science is the leading Federal source of support for research in these areas. Here’s the letter: Dear Chairman Domenici and Ranking Member Reid: We write to bring to your attention our bipartisan support for the Office of Science (the "Office") in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Office is our nation’s leading source of support for the physical sciences (including physics, chemistry, advanced computing, and geology) and energy-related biosciences. Despite the importance of these research areas to our energy, technology, and economic future, the Office’s budget in real dollars is the same as it was in 1990. The proposed budget for the Office of Science in FY 2005 is $3.43 billion, essentially the same as was appropriated in FY 2004. Last November, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham released his 20 year plan for the future of scientific facilities for our country. This plan provides an exciting future that will revolutionize science and our society. This plan includes participation in international collaborations to make fusion power a reality, strengthens our scientific computing capabilities to develop advanced methodologies ranging from modeling chemical reactions to predictions of weather and climate change, and includes facilities to develop and characterize proteins for microbial research on a grand scale. These are just a few of the facilities that are included in Secretary Abraham’s visionary plan. This ambitious plan serves as a reminder that since World War II, according to the National Academies of Sciences, half of our job growth can be attributed to our investments in science and technology. This should also remind us that, especially in this era of global competition, our future investments in science will be even more important. To create more high-paying jobs for Americans, we must significantly increase the support for DOE’s Office of Science, and we must help make this visionary plan a reality. Last year, your leadership was instrumental in increasing the Office’s budget by nearly $50 million over the request level. The nation must have a balanced investment to maintain the overall health of science and technology research. Recent funding increases for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation cannot compensate for the need to invest in the physical sciences upon which all other science is based. We urge you to increase the funding for the Office of Science by ten percent over the request level. This bold yet necessary step will strengthen our nation’s scientific capabilities and the role that the physical sciences play in our energy security and economic growth. Sincerely, [Akaka, Alexander, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Breaux, Boxer, Cantwell, Clinton, Coleman, Cronyn, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, DeWine, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feinstein, Fitzgerald, Graham (FL), Graham (SC), Harkin, Hollings, Hutchison, Inouye, Kennedy, Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Lincoln, Lugar, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (FL), Pryor, Reed, Roberts, Rockefeller, Santorum, Sarbanes, Schumer, Snowe, Smith, Specter, Stabenow, Voinovich, Warner, Wyden]

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