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Dear Member of Congress:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the largest single life science organization in the world representing over 42,000 scientists, is writing to express concern over the FY 2005 House VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations bill which funds the National Science Foundation (NSF). The bill would provide $5.47 billion for the NSF in FY 2005, a decrease of $111 million, or 2 percent, below the FY 2004 funding level, and a decrease of $278 million, or 5 percent, below the President’s FY 2005 budget request.


The ASM recognizes the constraints within which the Subcommittee has had to work during this tight fiscal year. However, the NSF is the premier source of federal support for mathematic, scientific, and engineering research and education across many disciplines. Although the NSF represents less than four percent of the total federal funding for research and development (R&D), it accounts for approximately 13 percent of all federal support for basic research and 40 percent of non-life-science basic research at U.S. academic institutions. The NSF is also the principal federal agency charged with promoting science and engineering education at all levels and in all settings, from pre-kindergarten through career development. This helps ensure that the United States has world-class scientists, mathematicians and engineers, and well-prepared citizens.


The NSF plays a key role in support of basic science in the United States and knowledge gained from NSF studies directly benefits industry and contributes to the nation’s economy and international competitive position. The ASM appreciates Congress’s efforts to support the NSF, and urges Congress to increase funding above the House Appropriations Committee’s level for this essential agency.


Sincerely,

James Tiedje, Ph.D., President, ASM
Ruth Berkelman, M.D., Chair, Public and Scientific Affairs Board
Gary King, Ph.D., Chair, Committee on Environmental Microbiology

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