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SPIE Supports Timely Completion of FY2020 Appropriations Bills

Date Announced: 12 Dec 2019

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, joins peer societies in signing a letter to Congressional leaders urging finalization of FY2020 appropriations bills.

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA and CARDIFF, UK — SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has signed a multi-society letter to US Congressional leaders, urging them to complete their work on the FY2020 appropriations bills as soon as possible.

"The uncertainty created by short- and long-term continuing resolutions (CRs) has severe consequences for science and research," begins the letter to Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader, US Senate; Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, US House of Representatives; Charles Schumer, Minority Leader, US Senate; and Kevin McCarthy, Republican Leader, US House of Representatives.

"At least two dozen federal agencies fund defense and nondefense R&D," the letter continues. "Failing to complete work on the appropriations bills that fuel this engine in a timely manner impedes our ability to address fundamental challenges such as chronic and infectious diseases, food and energy security, cybersecurity and natural disasters - all of which require advancements in science and technology fostered through federal investments."

"Research and Development funding is critical to the continued growth of scientific discovery and innovation," says SPIE CEO Kent Rochford. "Alongside our peer societies, SPIE urges our Congressional leaders to actively ensure that our federal funding supports investment in the sciences through completion of its annual appropriations bills, and to ensure that this funding is in place as soon as possible.

CRs are particularly problematic for new or growing programs, and this delay comes at a time when the US is looking to increase investment in several key emerging technologies, such as quantum and artificial intelligence. There should be a sense of urgency among Congressional leaders and the administration to provide the necessary funding to maintain and grow these federal R&D programs which are vital to both future economic growth and national security."

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves more than 255,000 constituents from 183 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2019, SPIE provided more than $5 million in community support including scholarships and awards, outreach and advocacy programs, travel grants, public policy, and educational resources. www.spie.org.

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