OPP Attends October CNSF Meeting
October 27, 2009
On October 20, Representatives for the Center for Inquiry attended this month’s meeting of the Coalition for National Science Funding. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss federal science funding over the coming years in light of President Barack Obama’s proposal to double it over the next decade. The guest speaker, Dixon Butler, a staffer for the House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, spoke about the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for the fiscal year of 2010. This bill includes funding for the National Science Foundation, totaling $6.9 billion dollars. That amount is $108 million below what President Obama suggested, but Mr. Butler stated that the bill still supports the President’s commitment to double funding in the next ten years.
In addition, based on the sentiments of those in the room, Mr. Butler strongly encouraged a greater effort by the scientific community to lobby their members of Congress to increase funding for science, particularly for basic research and for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. He pointed out that in order to motivate members of Congress, individuals must remind their Senators of the importance of scientific pursuits in their state, and their Representative of the importance of funding within their district.
Overall, the tone of the meeting was one of cautious optimism. Members of the scientific community—both academic and professional—were happy to see a renewed commitment to science, but stressed that more work and funding are necessary to put the United States back on track as the world leader in scientific innovation and education.