February 10, 2009
The U.S. House recently passed an $820 billion economic stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which included $2.5 billion in funds for the National Science Foundation (NSF), including $100 million for the Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate and programs such as Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarships and Math Science Partnership. Today the U.S. Senate passed its version of the bill, totaling $819 billion with $1.2 billion in funds for the NSF, of which $50 million is directed to EHR for STEM education. The next step will be to reconcile these and many other differences in the two versions of the bill before a final measure is voted on. Congress is still working to complete the package and send a bill to the President by the end of the week, before the President's Day recess.
At this point, MAA is encouraging its members and supporters to weigh in with their House and Senate representatives in favor of the greater investment in NSF that is included in the House version. If you have a direct contact in those offices, please send them an email urging their support for the House funding level. If you do not have an existing relationship, please take a few minutes to go to their website to either enter a comment directly through their constituent views portal, or to find another email or fax contact. Phone calls are not very effective at a time of very high volumes such as this.
The following websites will direct you to your Representatives and Senators home pages, which have links to send messages to them. Your message should simply ask them to support the funding for NSF at the House proposed level. You should also urge them to support funding for undergraduate STEM education at NSF, preferably through support of course, curriculum, and laboratory improvement. (That was at one time in the bill but has been deleted, you could ask for its reinstatement.)
Thank you for your assistance with this important advocacy initiative. — Tina Straley, MAA Executive Director