After returning to Washington after the mid-term elections, Congress has until December 11 to act on the FY15 budget to avoid a government shutdown. Details of what a deal may look like are still being negotiated. Meanwhile, higher education groups and business leaders are calling on Congress to pass an omnibus appropriations bill that would help to close the innovation deficit.
On November 12, 133 national business, higher education, scientific, patient, and other organizations urged Congress to increase investments in scientific research and higher to help close the nation’s innovation deficit— the widening gap between the actual level of federal government funding allocated for research and higher education and what the investment needs to be if the United States is to remain the world’s innovation leader.
In the letter, members of the Senate and House from both political parties have highlighted the need to address the innovation deficit. Congress has already taken some preliminary steps in this direction. The letter speaks applauds other countries’ increased investments in research, education, and innovation, but noted that these increased efforts endanger the United States’ position as its investments in research remain frozen.
Regional Business groups are also weighing in on the issue of funding for research and innovation. The Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and the Portland Business Alliance have all joined the Business Coalition for Federal Research Funding led by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. The group sent a separate letter to members of Congress urging action on research funding.