The Computing Research Association (CRA) has a good post about Representative Frank Wolf’s (R-VA) call on President Bush to triple the federal government’s investment in basic research. He sent the President a letter (which is also on CRA’s website) outlining his concern about the levels of federal investment in basic research and its impact on the future of American competitiveness. It is especially important that it is Rep. Wolf saying this as he is Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over much of the federal research budget.
Peter at CRA makes the key point in his post:
Wolf’s goal in writing to the President isn’t to affect the FY 06 appropriations process directly — after all, at this point the President’s only official role in the FY 06 budget process is to veto or sign the final approps bill — but to encourage the President to make basic research a priority in his FY 2007 budget request. Doing so would give appropriators next year more “headroom” to increase budgets for basic research — headroom sorely lacking this year. This is an approach many groups in the science community (including CRA) are taking as well, in addition to working very hard to get the highest possible funding level in FY 06.