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A Call to Action and a Update on the NSF / NASA Congressional & Senate Subcommittee Hearings

Congress and the Senate respond to the cuts to NSF and NASA in the proposed FY18 budget.
Capital Hill SWE’s Advocacy Contributes to Increase in STEM Education Funding

As explained in this analysis, the proposed cuts to key STEM education programs and scientific research will negatively impact the U.S. workforce, the future pipeline of engineers, and scientific advancement. Please take action and do the following:

This past week, key staff from NASA and NSF presented at hearings concerning the impact of the FY18 budget on their mission and operations. SWE’s partner, Washington Partners, attended both briefings. We are pleased to share key highlights provided by Washington Partners from these two subcommittee budget hearings:

House Science and Senate Subcommittee Hearing on FY18 budget for NSF

On Wednesday June 7, 2017, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science hosted a hearing on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The total FY18 budget proposed for the National Science Foundation is $6.65 billion, which a decrease of $840.5 million from FY17. In addition, NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate received a proposed cut of 14 percent for the FY18 budget (or a $123.55 million cut). Key highlights include:

  • Both Republicans and Democrats talked about the importance of STEM education, creating more pathways for the STEM fields to become more diverse and inclusive of underrepresented populations, and the need for sustained investments in projects over time – such as those related to radio astronomy and exploration of the universe.
  • José Serrano (D-NY) expressed concern by the cuts to the Education and Human Service (EHR) Directorate, saying it would certainly decrease graduate research fellowships and make it harder for Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) to help underrepresented students enter the STEM fields.
  • The hearing focused on the bipartisan agreement that scientific research and investments in the NSF are crucial to maintaining America’s leadership and its security. The seemed to be a consensus that the White House budget will not reflect the ultimate Congressional budget that gets passed and recognition that the work that NSF is investing in is exactly the type of work that has improved and enhanced the American economy and its role as a world leader.

House Science and Senate Subcommittee Hearing on FY18 budget for NASA

On Thursday, June 8, Acting Administrator for NASA, Robert M. Lightfoot, testified before the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Space and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies to discuss NASA’s FY2018 budget.

Currently, the FY18 budget proposes a total elimination of NASA’s Education program, which is critical in inspiring future students to pursue degrees in STEM. Key highlights from the hearing include:

  • Much of the House Appropriations Subcommittee’s afternoon hearing consisted of members voicing their concern over the White House proposal to completely eliminate funding for NASA’s Office of Education.
  • Congressman Steve Knight (R-CA) and others, praised NASA’s role as an educational organization that inspires young people to pursue STEM degrees and careers.
  • Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), mentioned how NASA’s investments have contributed largely to positive developments in Kentucky’s STEM workforce.
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