May 17, 2006 – ASM Sends Letter to Congress on Amendment to the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2006

The Honorable Frank Lautenberg
United States Senate
324 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3002

Dear Senator Lautenberg:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the largest single life science organization with more than 42,000 members, is concerned about the amendment sponsored by Senator Hutchison to Section 307 of S. 2802, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2006. The amendment omits life sciences research in the biological, behavioral and social sciences and will jeopardize the commitment of the National Science Foundation to life sciences research. The NSF plays a key role in strengthening our knowledge of biological, behavioral and social phenomena. NSF support for the life sciences has made possible substantial scientific progress in the areas of plant sciences, ecology, genetics, microbiology and molecular biology, both with respect to advances in fundamental knowledge and in valuable applications in biotechnology, which is essential to US competitiveness. In the life sciences, innovation is a direct consequence of multidisciplinary communication and collaboration. One of the primary strengths of the NSF is its ability to catalyze important interactions among research disciplines in the physical and life sciences. It is essential that NSF continue to have the ability to ensure that the promise of research in the life sciences for public well being is fulfilled.

Thank you for your support of scientific research.


Gary M. King, Ph.D., Chair, Committee on Environmental Microbiology
Ruth L. Berkelman, M.D., Chair, Public and Scientific Affairs Board
Stanley Maloy, Ph.D., President, American Society for Microbiology