Reposted from ScienceDebate:
(February 6, 2009) - Well
it's been a long, long day with thousands of emails and phone calls, but we are happy to
report that your efforts, and those of the rest of the U.S. science and
technology community, have paid off in a big way - for the time being.
Nelson, Collins, Lieberman and Specter held a press conference earlier
this evening, also crediting Senator Snowe, and followed up by Senate
Majority Leader Reid, declaring a compromise bill has been reached on
the stimulus package. You can read the exact line items of the bill here in an xls document, but the parts we focused on today are below:
This is a terrific $3 billion victory for U.S. Science - thank you!
bill will be voted on by the full Senate on Monday. It could still
fail then. But it reportedly has the strong support of President
Obama, and if it passes it will form the (likely strongly prejudiced)
basis for conference committee negotiations.
it be noted: Science Debate is made up of people of wide political
diversity, and there are some of us who question whether research
belongs in a stimulus package at all. Neither do we see Science Debate
as a legislative advocacy initiative. However these are exceptional
times with high stakes and there is no guarantee that the political
appetite for new money will not be exhausted after this major package.
Additionally, we believe scientific research is one of the best
investments in stimulating economic growth in both the short and long
term that this country can possibly make in a science-dominated global
economy. Here are some ways these contemplated amounts are stimulative:
Literally 'shovel ready': the American Physical Society identified
billions in 'shovel ready' science programs that include immediate
construction items associated with science. So, much of what is being
targeted as 'research' and therefore not stimulative, is in fact direct
stimulus for construction and expenditures.
2. Stimulus money for federal science funding agencies will translate
into support for thousands of graduate students and postdocs this year
and next year, as faculty who get funded hire them. This is a good way
to create high quality jobs right away and to invest in the future at
the same time. NSF supports over 2,000 institutions and reaches nearly
200,000 researchers, postdoctoral fellows, trainees, teachers, and
students every year.
3. Current economic conditions have hit the states particularly hard.
Many are experiencing severe budget constraints and growing job
losses. In many regions, universities and colleges are the main
employer, and the source of economic growth in local and regional
economies. Any additional funding targeted to NSF has an immediate and
direct effect on high-quality jobs and economic growth across
4. A report, for example, from the Council for Chemical Research
concludes that a federal investment of $1 billion in R&D funding in
the chemical sciences can be leveraged into $40 billion in GNP and
600,000 jobs. NSF is the principal agency that supports research
across all disciplines of science and engineering, including the
as you may have heard Matthew announce today on Science Friday, after a
year of delay, we received 501(c)(3) status today.
Contributions made on or after January 7, 2008 are tax deductible.
Thanks! If you like our work and want us to continue, please Contribute Now.
-The team at ScienceDebate2008.com
Disclaimer: I am funded by the NSF. They have long been underfunded and it is great to see their budgets expanded.
With that said, I think this was a misguided battle.
The NASA, NIST, NOAA, and NSF are all government agencies that are funded as part of the annual budget process. Unlike an appropriations bill - which this is - budget bills cannot be fillibustered. So the Democrats can be much more aggressive with the budget than they were with the stimulus.
What did get cut out of the stimulus, however, is state-level funding. Unlike NSF funding, this cannot be included in the annual budget process. And state-level funding would be some of the most direct and successful stimulus there is.
I think it would have been better to have fought for the state-level funding and defer the NSF et al battle to the budget process. Budget changes are much easier to guarantee for the longer term; as it is this increase is only for two years, which is less than the typical grant life cycle. If this increase goes through in the stimulus, we most likely will see little push to increase the NSF budget longer term.
I wonder if we can get numbers on how many emails/calls/etc went to the Senate because of this particular campaign by ScienceDebate.
Where can i find a listing of what is in the current bill?
That sounds good. Let's just hope that the infusion of money is sustainable as 4. indicates.