September 19, 2016
Dear Speaker Ryan and Leaders McConnell, Pelosi, and Reid:
The Task Force on American Innovation – a coalition of businesses, scientific societies, and business and university organizations – strongly urges Congress to complete the FY17 appropriations process this year, and to ensure that key agencies supporting scientific research receive robust funding.
Our coalition exists for the purpose of advocating federal funding of research at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and ARPA-E, the research offices at NASA and the Department of Defense, and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. We hope final FY17 funding for these agencies will be increased to the extent possible within the final overall discretionary funding caps.
While the country benefits in many ways from scientific research, it is important to understand that our member companies and countless others could not produce the extraordinary innovations the American people count on without the discoveries and ideas that emerge from federally funded research, most of which is conducted at universities. Federally funded research has played a critical role in innovations ranging from GPS to MRI, from smartphone touch screens to numerous technologies that make our men and women in uniform the most effective in the world and enhance their safety.
It is, of course, not unusual to require enactment of a continuing resolution to keep the government operating in the new fiscal year that begins on October 1. It is important, however, that the 114th Congress return after the upcoming election to complete the FY17 appropriations process and not abdicate responsibility for this work to the new Congress. To operate efficiently and effectively, federal agencies depend upon a predictable flow of funding. This is especially the case for the science agencies and their grantees, as scientists must know if they can count on the support needed to continue and complete their research. Putting final decisions off until the new Congress and the new Administration will disrupt these agencies and the work of scientists upon whom the country depends to conduct research.
Again, we strongly urge Congress to complete FY17 appropriations this year and to provide robust funding of scientific research.
Task Force on American Innovation
cc: The Honorable Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader
The Honorable Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip
The Honorable Steny Hoyer, House Democratic Whip
The Honorable Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Majority Conference Chair
The Honorable James Clyburn, House Assistant Democratic Leader
The Honorable Luke Messer, House Majority Policy Committee Chair
The Honorable Xavier Becerra, House Democratic Caucus Chair
The Honorable John Cornyn, Senate Majority Whip
The Honorable Dick Durbin, Senate Democratic Whip
The Honorable John Thune, Senate Majority Conference Chair
The Honorable John Barrasso, Senate Majority Policy Committee Chair
The Honorable Chuck Schumer, Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chair
The Honorable Roy Blunt, Senate Majority Conference Vice Chair
The Honorable Patty Murray, Senate Democratic Conference Secretary
Members of the House Appropriations Committee
Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee