On May 10, Members of the House of Representatives received a letter requesting that they demonstrate their support for the Department of Energy's Office of Science. By May 12 representatives were asked to sign a letter to Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Ed Pastor (D-AZ) to "express our strong support for robust and sustained funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, and the critical research, unique scientific facilities, and expert personnel that it supports." The letter requests: "we urge you to make strong and sustained funding for the DOE Office of Science one of your highest priorities in fiscal year 2012."
The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to begin its mark-up of the FY 2012 appropriations bills this week. Pressure on House appropriators will be severe as the House voted to cut FY 2012 discretionary spending by $31 billion as compared to FY 2011.
This "Dear Colleague" letter was sent by Judy Biggert (R-IL), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). The letter says, "We believe that scientific research is the foundation for the innovative solutions that will enable us to overcome many of our greatest challenges -- from economic stagnation and dependence on foreign energy to curing diseases and addressing threats to our national security."
The letter credits the Office of Science with its key support of the development of innovative technologies, including MRI machines, DNA sequencing, an artificial retina, and better detectors for hazardous materials.
Meanwhile, negotiations continued on an agreement to increase the country's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, which will be reached on Monday. Vice-President Joe Biden met with lawmakers with both parties in an effort to find common ground, while President Obama was meeting with all Senate republicans on May 12 to discuss the measure.