Senate Considers Fate of Science Funding

21 May 2015
AGU Science Policy Alert 15-8

You know the critical role that Earth and space science plays in protecting our nation from natural hazards, creating innovations that improve our economy and giving us information about the world that increases national security.

Right now, the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Committee is writing the bill that funds critical science agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and the National Science Foundation. The committee will likely vote on the bill in 2 weeks’ time.

Unfortunately, the House CJS fiscal year 2016 (FY16) Appropriations bill threatens many programs that support better understanding of, and technology to provide for, critical national needs such as water and mineral resources, energy independence, environmental issues, Earth’s climate and ocean system, and mitigation of natural hazards.

Now is a critical time to let the Senate CJS Appropriations Committee know that they need to support Earth and space science in their version of the bill. If a strong Senate bill passes that chamber, it will improve the final bill that comes out of the conference between the two chambers. It is our only chance at improving science funding for FY16.

You can help improve Earth and space science funding by writing your senators today. AGU’s Action Center website makes it easy to email your senators. It will only takes a few minutes, and talking points are provided.

The House science funding bill would cut FY15 overall funding for NOAA by 5 percent from current levels, including an 8 percent cut to NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. NASA Earth science would be cut by about 5 percent from current funding, and NASA heliophysics funding would decrease about 3 percent.

By contacting your senators now and letting them know that these budgets are important to your state and our country, the Senate may write and pass a bill with much stronger funding for Earth and space sciences.

That bill would then be conferenced with the House bill, potentially alleviating or removing these cuts altogether.

Take a few minutes right now to make a difference for the Earth and space science community and share how valuable this research is to our nation.