Grassroots strategy on NSF

Wed, 31 May 1995 11:55:00 PDT

Here is an update on what is happening with the proposed NSF cuts and
suggestions for action.

Dwight Read


TO: * All in Anthropology DATE: 05-31-95
TIME: 09:46
SUBJECT: Grassroots strategy on NSF

I have received this message from the program director in physical
anthropology at NSF. The news is not good, but there are some suggestions
for action.

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Date: Wed, 31 May 95 10:58:42 EST
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Subject: Grassroots strategy on NSF
This is an informative update on the current scene on the upcoming
budget. Please use or forward to others as you see fit. Jere
as President of the AAPA, is coordinating his efforts with AAA.
clearly the more the better, and there seems to be congressman or
senator for almost everyone to contact... I will only add that
I am now convinced people inside NSF are aware of the very high
quality of the science the physical anthropology program supports,
is to the benefit of our program and colleagues to join in this


*********Forwarded Message Follows
May 30, 1995 NSF Update from the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological
and Cognitive Sciences

All of us in Washington want to thank all of you for the FIRST ROUND
of letters on the NSF cut. As we visit Hill offices, we are told that
they have been deluged with letters. There can be no doubt among those
members that have been receiving letters that this is not a trivial issue
to a vocal segment of voters. That is a valuable accomplishment. Few
legislators beyond the chairs of the relevant committees and
subcommittees had any awareness of this cut or its effects. Legislators
had less than a week from the time the Budget Committee passed the budget
out of committee until it was voted on and passed by the full House. You
can't absorb the details of a trillion dollar + budget in four working
days. Now they know this detail. And the question we must turn to is
what to do next.
The Washington organizations representing your interests have been
meeting in a great many strategy sessions. The consensus emerging now is
that our next effort needs to be more tightly focused on the
Appropriations Committee and the Science Committee. The Basic Research
Subcommittee of the Science Committee is scheduled to take action on the
NSF authorization bill on June 8th with the bill expected to go to the
full Science Committee on about the 14th or 15th. The VA, HUD and
Independent Agencies Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee is
hoping to begin action on the NSF appropriation during the last week of
That is how much time we have to 1) get an NSF authorization that
includes the Behavioral, Social and Economic Sciences Directorate and 2)
get an appropriation that does not instruct NSF about how it must absorb
its cuts. Unfortunately, it seems that successfully lobbying for NSF not
to be cut will be almost impossible. The appropriations subcommittees of
the House got their first glimpse of their 602B allocation--the amount of
money each subcommittee will have available to fund the programs in its
jurisdiction--on May 25. While we haven't learned the exact allocation
for VA-HUD, we have been told that it could be more than $3 billion less
than was allotted last year to fund programs in fiscal year 1995! To give
you an idea whether that is a large number or not, the whole NSF budget is
just over $3 billion. So out of the 22 programs in its jurisdiction, the
subcommittee must cut an amount larger than the total budget of NSF.
What should you do to help now?
1) The Legislators are now in their home districts for the Memorial
Day break. It would be good to reinforce the letters by calling the
legislator's district office and asking to have the opportunity to
discuss a matter of deep concern to you about the House Budget
Resolution. Explain what the Budget Committee recommended--a $655
million cut over 7 years to be absorbed mainly by wiping out the
behavioral and social sciences. Discuss the value of this research on
the basis of the knowledge it produces, on the basis of significant
applications of the knowledge, and on the basis of how much of higher
education is comprised of the sciences that are slated to be wiped out.
Ask the legislator to oppose a VA-HUD appropriation bill that instructs
NSF how it must absorb cuts and to oppose an NSF authorization bill that
does not include the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Directorate. Ask the legislator if he or she would be willing to vote in
that way. If you have research that would demonstrate the utility of
these sciences, you might consider inviting the legislator and/or a
member of the legislator's staff to tour your lab and be briefed on the
research going on there.
2. Focus your letter writing campaign on members of the VA-HUD and
Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee and the Basic Research
Subcommittee of the Science Committee.
The message on appropriation is that science is a single entity with
a lot of parts. Cutting a major piece out of this whole will affect the
quality of all of science because the parts are interdependent.
Illustrate that point if you can. Suggest that Congress should not be
deciding which areas of science have more value and which have less
value. That is a decision that should be based on what is needed to
advance science. And it is a decision that changes as science evolves.
It is a decision that should be made at the National Science Foundation.
Therefore--here is the bottom line--please refrain from instructing NSF
how it must make any cuts that Congress might impose. Ask to know how
the legislator stands on this matter. If you are a voter in the member's
district, point that out. It is probably best at this point to appeal to
reason rather than conveying anger to the legislator. Aim to convince
the legislator that the proposed course of action is the right and
reasonable one.
The message on authorization is that no one has yet been able to
pick the winners and losers in science. Discoveries of relevance to
science as well as society routinely come from unanticipated sources. It
is, therefore, extremely unwise for legislators to arbitrarily eliminate
certain areas of science on the assumption that they are dispensable.
You can repeat the one science argument. Note that the state of
scientific development should dictate which sciences should receive more
resources and which should receive less at any given time. The
authorizing committee should, therefore, give NSF the flexibility it
needs to adjust to the changing needs of knowledge production by passing
an authorization that preserves the structure of NSF. Specifically, pass
an authorization that either authorizes NSF and its programs generally
or, if the authorization must be built directorate by directorate, pass
an authorization that includes authorization for the Social, Behavioral
and Economic Sciences Directorate.
Here are the members of the VA-HUD Subcommittee of the
Appropriations Committee with a little description of the person for
which we thank the Consortium of Social Science Associations: Jerry
Lewis (R-CA) has been supportive of NSF in the past. Has steered
scientific and medical research funding back to San Bernardino
County-based district, which includes Loma Linda University. USC/UCLA
nearby. B.A., UCLA; Tom DeLay (R-TX) Third-ranking House Republican, an
anti-tax, anti-government conservative. Uses Appropriations seat to look
after NASA. District includes parts of Houston and suburbs. B.S.,
University of Houston; Barbara Vucanovich (R-NV) With 90 percent of
Reno-based district federally-owned land, she focuses efforts on interior
issues and the military construction appropriations subcommittee she
chairs. District includes Univ. of NV-Reno; James Walsh (R-NY) District
includes Syracuse University and Martin Marietta. Has kept eye on nearby
Cornell. A moderate, pragmatic Republican who focuses on New York issues
and the work of the subcommittee he chairs overseeing District of
Columbia appropriations. B.A. St. Bonaventure; David Hobson (R-OH) Also
on Budget Committee, has hard-line stance on budget issues. Rural, west
central Ohio district includes Antioch, Wright State. J.D., Ohio State;
Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI) Bloomfield Hills district one of most affluent
in nation. Traditional Republican. B.S. Eastern Illinois; Rodney
Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) Freshman's Morristown district includes Seton Hall,
Drew. Princeton nearby. Moderate on social issues, but a fiscal
conservative. A descendant of the founders of Rutgers. B.A. Hobart;
Mark Neumann (R-WI) District on outskirts of Milwaukee includes
UW-Kenosha. Marquette and UW-Madison Nearby. Strong fiscal and social
conservative. M.S., U. of Wisconsin-River Falls; Louis Stokes (D-OH) A
former chair of NSF funding panel, he supported NSF's violence center.
District includes Case Western Reserve. J.D., Cleveland Marshall; Alan
Mollohan (D-WV) District includes Alma mater West Virginia University.
Thoughtful, moderate Democrat who concentrates on district. Also on
Budget Committee; Jim Chapman (D-TX) Northeast Texas district includes
East Texas State. Strong supporter of NASA and "big science" such as the
Superconducting Super Collider. J.D. Southern Methodist University;
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) District includes U. of Toledo. Bowling Green
nearby. Primary focus is on trade issues. Masters in Urban Planning,
MIT. Note that Mollohan is likely to be the strongest NSF advocate on
the Subcommittee if the past is any indicator of the future. You might
send him a copy of anything you write noting that you hope your letter
might be of use in helping to secure a minimum of instruction to NSF
about how it must allocate its appropriation.
Here are the members of the Basic Research Subcommittee of the
Science Committee: Steven Schiff (R-NM)Albuquerque-based district
includes Sandia National Laboratories, University of New Mexico, and
military-aerospace industries. Strong supporter of Space Station and
Super Conducting Super Collider. A moderate Republican, he is leading
member of House Judiciary Committee. J.D., University of New Mexico;
Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) Utica-based district includes Colgate, Hartwick,
and SUNY-Oneonta. A moderate Republican, he has been critical of the
size of NASA's budget and led effort to kill SSC.; Joe Barton (R-TX)
Suburban Dallas district includes SSC, defense and auto plants. Staunch
fiscal conservative except when it involves jobs in his district. M.S.
in engineering from Purdue; Richard Baker (R-LA); Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)
Grand Rapids-based district includes Calvin College. Nearby Hope
College. First physicist to serve in House, used his first House speech
to call for a science policy that creates new jobs. Leader of efforts to
improve technological capacities of House. Ph.D., Berkeley; Gil
Gutknecht (R-MN) Rochester-based district includes Carleton College,
Mankato State, Mayo Clinic, Hormel, and IBM. A freshman and strong
deficit hawk, having replaced noted fiscal conservative Tim Penny;
Constance Morella (R-MD) Montgomery County based district includes NIH,
NIST, FDA, DOE labs. U-MD nearby. Liberal on social issues, but has
voted with GOP leadership on fiscal issues in current session. M.A.
American University; Curt Weldon (R-PA) Suburban Phil. district includes
Swarthmore, Villanova, Boeing. Also chairs a military R&D subcommittee;
leads caucus advocating government efficiency and individual
self-reliance. B.A. West Chester State; Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)
Frederick-based district DOD medical research facility and National
Cancer Institute. An engineer who holds 20 patents, he received his
Ph.D. from U. of MD. A strong anti-government flair, but supported Space
Station; Zach Wamp (R-TN) District includes Oak Ridge National
Laboratories, UT-Chatanooga; David Weldon (R-FL) Central FL district is
home to Kennedy Space Center, FL Inst. of Tech. A freshman and Christian
Coalition member. M.D., SUNY-Buffalo; Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Anderson/Aiken district includes Clemson. A reformist freshman, asked
for seat on Science to look after district's nuclear plants. J.D., U. of
SC; Van Hilleary (R-TN) Rural district home to TVA nuclear plant under
construction, the reason why conservative freshman wanted Science
assignment. District includes U. of the South. J.D., Stanford; Sue
Myrick (R-NC) Former Charlotte Mayor, freshman whose district includes
Davidson, UNC-Charlotte; Pete Geren (D-TX) Ranking Democrat on Basic Res.
Subc, fiscally conservative democrat; primarily concerned with defense
industries in Fort Worth area. J.D., U. of Texas, may be unfavorable
toward behavioral and social sciences; Richard "Doc" Hastings (R-WA) ;
Lynn Rivers (D-MI) Successor to Ed. & Labor Chair Bill Ford, freshman's
focus is on education and jobs. District includes U. of MI and Eastern
MI U., J.D., Wayne State; Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) District includes U. of
Texas-Austin. A freshman, he has been a long-time figure in Texas
politics. J.D., U. of Texas; Bill Luther (D-MN) Suburban Twin Cities
district includes Northwest Airlines, West Publishing, and supercomputer
companies. U. of MN nearby. Freshman, J.D. U. of MN; John Olver (D-MA)
Liberal who also serves on Budget Committee, his district includes
U-Mass, Williams, Amherst and eight state universities. Holds Ph.D. in
Chemistry from MIt and on faculty at U-Mass; Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Freshman's district includes San Jose State. Nearby Stanford. Has
expressed support for NSF's violence center. J.D. Santa Clara; Michael
Doyle (D-PA) freshman's district includes Robert Morris, numerous medical
research companies. B.S. Penn State; Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Freshman's district includes U. of Houston, Rice. Focus is on crime and
family issues. J.D., U of VA.
If you know people in the universities mentioned in these
descriptions, please urge those people to write in as a voter in the
member's district.
Dave Johnson
Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
While our focus has been on NSF, you should also know that the House
Budget Committee also recommends complete elimination of educational
research at the Department of Education (as well as elimination of the
Department itself) and it recommends cutting NIH 5% in 1996 and freezing
its budget for six years thereafter--which would amount to about a 30%
cut given expected inflation over that period of about 24% It also
recommends ending interest subsidies on student loans. Under the
recommendation, students would have to pay interest on student loans
immediately rather than after completing their education.
*********End of Forwarded