CALL TO ACTION !!!
The AAS has issued an action alert to its members this week, and we have an opportunity to piggy back on their efforts. The planetary sections of other scientific societies are also calling members to action this week. Details of the action alert are at http://aas.org/posts/news/2014/05/aas-action-alert
The House of Representatives’ Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee is responsible for funding NASA and NSF. The full Appropriations Committee in the House recently passed this bill out of committee, and it now heads to the floor (likely on May 29) for the full House’s consideration, subject to potential amendments. The bill, as currently written, would increase the NASA top-line budget to $17.9 billion. In that context, SMD would increase to $5.19 billion, and planetary science did very well in garnering an increase to $1.45 billion.
Under current budget rules, any increases for programs in the bill must be offset by decreases to other programs within this same bill. When the Appropriations Committee considered this bill, the chairman of the CJS subcommittee, Rep. Frank Wolf (R, VA-10), indicated that he expects some members of the House will look to augment other programs (e.g., the Community Oriented Policing Services program) by taking money from science. These types of amendments have been introduced and passed in the past. The attempts to shift funding away from science would come in the form of amendments on the House floor when the chamber considers the bill on or about Thursday, May 29th.
Please contact your member of the House of Representatives as soon as possible – the schedule is highly subject to change. If you do contact your Representative, we encourage you to convey a nuanced two-part message: (1) support for NASA and NSF funding levels in the bill as introduced, and (2) oppose amendments that would reduce these levels. You can use the resource set up by the AAS at http://aas.org/posts/news/2014/05/aas-action-alert.
If you have questions, please contact Makenzie Lystrup a
–Makenzie Lystrup, FRS Chair (dps.frschair.aas.org)
27 May 2014