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US House budget plans would jeopardize scientific research facilities
Date:4/8/2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. It is important that the United States begin to live within its means and address the federal deficit. But APS believes that as a nation we need to be smart about how we do it. Cutting spending across the board without a clear understanding of what it means for America's future jeopardizes the very future we want to secure for our children.

For more than half a century, science and technology have been the primary drivers of job creation and economic growth. Slashing spending on science, as the budget plans of the House of Representatives call for, is bad policy and bad economics. The cuts contained in the bill H.R. 1 the legislative vehicle for funding the government for the balance of the fiscal year would eliminate almost $1 billion from the Department of Energy's Office of Science budget.

Such a reduction would force all Department of Energy user facilities to shut down operations, lay off or fire as many as 10,000 technical workers, send thousands of construction workers home without pay and force 26,000 scientists and engineers in virtually every congressional district in the country to end their research or take it to other countries.

The national laboratories are the home to approximately 40 "user facilities," which are vital to the research performed by scientists and engineers in companies and universities throughout the nation. The specialized instruments represent a federal investment of tens of billions of dollars and have paid handsome dividends for many years. Shutting them down wastes taxpayer money and jeopardizes America's spirit of innovation.

According to the National User Facility Organization, which represents the 30,000 scientists, engineers and students who conduct research at the national laboratories, closing the facilities would have a devastating effect on America's ability to remain a global scientific leader.

"The impact of any facility shutdown on our students is
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Contact: Tawanda W. Johnson
tjohnson@aps.org
202-662-8702
American Physical Society
Source:Eurekalert

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