Butterfield Sends Bipartisan Letter Requesting Emergency Funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Sep 25, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressmen G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) and David B. McKinley, P.E. (WV-01), sent a bipartisan letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) requesting $3 billion in emergency relief for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to respond to the challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Butterfield and McKinley were joined by 54 other Members of Congress from both parties.


The text of the letter can be found below:

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy,

As Congress continues to work on additional legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that you address the challenges faced by the scientific research community and work toward the enactment of $3 billion in emergency relief for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Thanks to your leadership, Congress appropriated $75 million in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the NSF to support new research addressing multiple aspects of the coronavirus through the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant funding mechanism. The NSF has awarded more than 900 grants to researchers across the country to address a wide range of questions surrounding the pandemic. Bringing together diverse disciplines of science – from computer science to biology to behavioral science – the NSF has proven to be an effective frontline agency in our nation’s efforts to respond to and recover from the pandemic.

While our nation’s scientists and research institutions have risen to the challenge of the pandemic, they are facing enormous strains to their operations and infrastructure. Federally funded scientists and engineers are experiencing significant negative impacts to their work during the pandemic, such as delays or cessation of their research projects, lab closures, and uncertainty about continuing to pay salaries, extend timelines, access needed lab equipment, and more. These impacts have disproportionately affected students, trainees, and early-career researchers, who make up an important segment of NSF award recipients. Without emergency relief, we risk losing the return on the investments that we have already made in the careers of U.S. scientists, the science they advance, and the research infrastructure that supports them.

To give the NSF the funding it needs to support its researchers at this critical time and avoid the potential loss of important innovations, we urge the inclusion of supplemental appropriations that will address these negative impacts and preserve our vital NSF research infrastructure.

We appreciate your leadership during this difficult time as Congress continues to respond to the wide-ranging fallout from this pandemic. Thank you for your attention to this request.