Members of Oregon delegation sign ‘Dear Colleague’ letters to fund university priorities

Members of Oregon’s congressional delegation signed letters of support for funding in fiscal year 2013 (FY2013) for several appropriation bills for University of Oregon and higher education priorities. The letters support funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and student financial aid.

Oregon members of Congress Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon) signed onto a bipartisan letter that seeks at least $32 billion for the NIH in FY2013. The letter was spearheaded by Congressmen Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Brian Bilbray (R-California). It recognizes “the important role of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in job creation, economic growth, and bettering the lives of millions of Americans.”

DeFazio, Blumenauer, and Bonamici also signed onto a letter supporting $154.3 million in funding for the NEH in FY2013—the amount that the Administration requested in its recently released budget request. The letter was circulated by Congressman David Price (D-North Carolina). According to the letter, investment in the humanities “advances vital U.S. interests by fostering a globally competitive workforce, strengthening civic engagement, preserving our cultural heritage, and protecting our national security.”

Finally, Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) signed onto a letter asking appropriators to maintain Pell Grant eligibility and sustain the current program funding level to fully fund the maximum award scheduled for FY2013. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) circulated the letter, which communicates the importance of Pell grants to students of lower- and moderate-income backgrounds.

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have started to hold hearings on FY2013 appropriations bills and are expected to release draft bills in the coming months.