U.S. Reps. Butterfield, McKinley Call for $8 billion in National Science Foundation Funding

Apr 4, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) and Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. (WV-01) led 162 of their colleagues in a bipartisan letter to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, urging Congress to provide $8 billion in funding to the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Fiscal Year 2018. The NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science, secure the national defense, and advance the nation’s health and welfare.

“From curing diseases and addressing threats to national security, to supporting the development of new businesses and creating jobs, the National Science Foundation enables our workforce to compete globally and helps our nation find solutions for its biggest challenges,” said Rep. Butterfield.  “The NSF contributes approximately $200 million to North Carolina institutions of higher learning annually, including Duke University, North Carolina Central University, and East Carolina in the First Congressional District.  The funding helps our state address local issues like hurricane resiliency and coal ash management while enabling it to be a leader in health care and defense.  The NSF has generated private sector jobs in North Carolina through companies like Cree LED Lighting in Durham, and has helped our nation develop a globally competitive workforce for the future.     

“However, the United States currently lags behind many other advanced industrial nations in STEM education with almost one-third of American adults lacking basic math skills.  NSF funding must be a priority in fiscal year 2018 to help us face today’s challenges and prepare our workforce for the future.  For over 60 years, NSF has supported research and training to address the shortage of STEM professionals and to facilitate breakthroughs in science and technology.” 

“The National Science Foundation (NSF) is one of our most important tools for advancing medical cures, keeping our country safe, and fostering economic prosperity,” said Rep. McKinley.  “The United States faces many challenges at home and abroad. Our request will provide the NSF with the resources it needs to meet those challenges and keep America competitive in the global economy and as the world’s leader in cutting edge technology.”

The letter is supported by the Coalition for National Science Foundation:

“The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) appreciates Representatives G.K. Butterfield and David McKinley for their longstanding and consistent support for the National Science Foundation (NSF).  As the pillar of America’s research enterprise, NSF-funded research has proven to be vital to our economy, national security, and global competitiveness.  For the last 60 years, NSF has supported research across a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines and has served a vital role in preparing the next generation STEM workforce.  For these reasons, we support the recommendation of Representatives Butterfield, McKinley, and the other 162 Members of Congress who signed on to the Dear Colleague Letter that NSF receive an appropriation of $8 billion in fiscal year 2018,” said Amy Scott and Erin Heath, co-chairs for CNSF. 

More than fifty professional science organizations, many of which are members of the CNSF, independently supported the letter:

Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, IEEE-USA, Research America, American Political Science Association, Museum of Science, Boston, National Center for Technological Literacy, American Educational Research Association, American Anthropological Association, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, American Statistical Association, American Institute of Biological Sciences, Natural Science Collections Alliance, American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, American Psychological Association, Biophysical Society, Mathematical Association of America, Consortium of Social Science Associations, National Postdoctoral Association, Council on Undergraduate Research, American Mathematical Society, Botanical Society of America, Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, American Society of Naturalists, Linguistic Society of America, American Physiological Society, American Geophysical Union, Archaeological Institute of America, The Herpetologists’ League, The American Phytopathological Society, Ecological Society of America, Society for American Archaeology, Coalition for American Heritage, American Association of Geographers, Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Organization of Biological Field Stations, American Cultural Resources Association, Society for Historical Archaeology, Society of Systematic Biologists, Society for the Study of Evolution, The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, American Sociological Association, Entomological Society of America, Association for Psychological Science, American Chemical Society, Psychology of Science in Policy, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Population Association of America, Association of Population Centers

The full text of the letter can be viewed here.