The American Humanist Association today delivered the following letter to members of the House of Representatives, asking them to join the House Science and National Labs Caucus. Read it as a PDF here.
April 11, 2013
As you know, the recent automatic spending cuts that are the result of the Budget Control Act of 2011 have impacted federal agencies and government workers in many different fields and in locations across the nation. While there is some disagreement in Washington as to whether or not the “sequester” should be reversed or modified, a bipartisan consensus is quickly forming in opposition to the unprecedented and catastrophic cuts to medical and scientific research.
The National Institutes of Health, which is the “world’s largest supporter of biomedical research,” saw sequestration cut their budget for this year by close to $1.6 billion dollars.[i] The National Science Foundation, which “funds about a fifth of all federally funded basic research at American colleges and universities in fields ranging from biology to math and computer science,” anticipated it would award “about 1,000 fewer research grants this year” because of sequestration.[ii] The Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the “lead federal agency supporting scientific research for energy and the largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences,”[iii] had sequestration “cut $215 million.”[iv] And NASA faces further deterioration with cuts that amounted to “nearly $900 million.”[v]
The recent CR helped to undo some of this damage, but these institutions and others like them are still not fully restored. That’s why I’m asking you to join your colleagues in the House in standing up for scientific and medical research by becoming a member of the recently created bi-partisan House Science and National Labs Caucus.
This Caucus, founded late last year by Reps. Hultgren, Fatah, Lujan, and Nunnelee, is working to “reinforce federal investment in research and the national laboratories, in addition to raising awareness in and out of Congress about the role they play in long-term economic growth.”[vi]
It is for this reason that I ask you to join the House Science and National Labs Caucus and to actively work to ensure that your colleagues in the House join you in vigorously supporting federal funding for scientific and medical research.
On behalf of the American Humanist Association and our 23,000 members and supporters committed to advancing scientific and medical research, I thank you for your consideration.
[i] Semuels, Alana, and Adolfo Flores. “Sequestration Will Take Big Bite from Medical Research Funding.” Los Angeles Times. 21 Mar. 2013. <http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/21/business/la-fi-sequester-science-20130322>.
[ii] Lewis, Tanya. “Sequester Cuts Could Hit Scientists Hard.” LiveScience.com. 28 Feb. 2013. <http://www.livescience.com/27538-how-sequester-will-affect-science.html>.
[iv] Service, Robert. “DOE Science Chief to Step Down.” ScienceInsider. 20 Mar. 2013. <http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/03/doe-science-chief-to-step-down.html>.
[v] Leone, Dan. “NASA Would Take a Hit with Sequestration.” NBC News. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/27/17122242-nasa-would-take-a-hit-with-sequestration?lite>.
[vi] Rep. Randy Hultgren. Hultgren Announces House Science And National Labs Caucus. 7 Dec. 2012. <http://hultgren.house.gov/press-releases/hultgren-announces-house-science-national-labs-caucus/>.