OSA visits Capitol Hill to call for increased investment in Federal R&D funding

March 7, 2008, Washington, DC--Optical Society of America (OSA) members came together on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 5th to speak with their senators and representatives about science policy issues as part of the annual Congressional Visits Day (CVD), held each year to remind legislators of the impact that R&D funding decreases have on America's ability to compete globally. The OSA partnered with the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA) for this year's event.

March 7, 2008, Washington, DC--Optical Society of America (OSA) members came together on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 5th to speak with their senators and representatives about science policy issues as part of the annual Congressional Visits Day (CVD), held each year to remind legislators of the impact that R&D funding decreases have on America's ability to compete globally. The OSA partnered with the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA) for this year's event.

Specifically, participants are expressing concern to lawmakers about the FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which flat-funds or cuts funding for key science agencies, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. They are asking legislators to commit to increased funding levels for these agencies, as well as for basic research at the Department of Defense in the FY 2009 appropriations process, underway in Congress right now. President Bush's FY 2009 funding request includes strong increases for the key science agencies' budgets and is consistent with the funding authorized by last year's America COMPETES Act, which set the course for doubling the research budgets of NIST, NSF and DOE's Office of Science.

"The U.S. cannot afford cuts in basic research and development funding," said Elizabeth Rogan, OSA executive director. "Last year, we saw the Congress come together to authorize critical funds for the physical sciences through the passage of the bi-partisan America COMPETES Act. OSA's CVD participants are urging lawmakers to work together again in making funding for R&D a priority as they consider the appropriations bills before them this spring. Investments in R&D give us the quality of life we enjoy today, and it is only through long-term, steady federal investment in America's research enterprise that we will continue to be successful as a nation."

By sharing personal stories of their experiences as a professional in the field of optics and photonics and by pointing out specific optics-related advances that have been discovered and developed as a result of federal funding, the participants hope to show the lawmakers that increased funding is an investment in America's future, not an expense.

For more information, visit www.osa.org.

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