November 27, 2013
The Honorable Ron Wyden, U.S. Senate
221 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Jeff Merkley, U.S. Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senators Wyden and Merkley:
As Presidents of Oregon’s public research universities, we ask that you support a FY 2014 budget agreement that eliminates the federal budget sequester and promotes the economic vitality of the country by investing in education and scientific research.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 enacted a trilllion dollar reduction in federal government spending and set in place ten years of automatic budget cuts totaling an additional trillion dollars. Oregon’s public research universities have already been negatively affected by such budget reductions. These cuts have lead to both reductions in grant size and lower success rates for university scientists. Sequestration cuts to research and education are creating an American innovation deficit.
Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Portland State University and Oregon Health & Science University have a rich history of innovation, discovery and job creation born out of federal research funding. Federal research grants fund ideas generated by our faculty, students and staff who seek solutions to our world’s greatest energy, environmental, health, education, social and economic challenges. The loss of federal funds for scientific research corresponds with the loss of advances in these areas of scientific discovery. We risk jeopardizing the nation’s economic competitiveness if we drive scientists, especially the next generation of scientists, out of these fields. This year, Oregon’s public research universities have suffered a collective reduction of $68 million dollars in federal research grants – money that could have led to life-changing discoveries, innovation and much-needed economic activity.
We recognize that we are in the midst of difficult financial times. However, sequestration is the wrong approach and automatic spending cuts should be eliminated. Investments in access to higher education and publically funded scientific research are critical to the economic health of our nation as they contribute to a self-sufficient populous, a skilled workforce, and a globally competitive nation.
Thank you for your support and again, we urge you to reach a FY 2014 budget agreement that eliminates the dangerous and draconian sequester and supports a strong U.S. economy by prioritizing investments in the future.
President Edward J. Ray Oregon State University
President Michael Gottfredson University of Oregon
President Wim Wiewel Portland State University
President Joseph Robertson Jr. Oregon Health & Science University