Sending Office: Honorable Daniel Lipinski
Sent By:
AdamC.Weiss@mail.house.gov

 

Request for Signature(s)

Dear Colleague,

Please join me in requesting strong support for the National Weather Service (NWS) in the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. As the many devastating weather events of the past year demonstrate, we
need to strengthen NWS and its ability to predict, track, and monitor severe weather.

My letter seeks the rejection of four cuts proposed in the President’s Budget Request:

  1. $15 million reduction resulting from workforce savings (personnel cuts) at weather forecast offices,
  2. $11 million reduction to the Tsunami Warning Program,
  3. $1.2 million reduction resulting from consolidating Climate Prediction Center functions into the Weather Prediction Center, and
  4. $10.1 million reduction to the Information Technology Officer (ITO) program, resulting in the removal of on-site ITOs at weather forecast offices and their consolidation into regional service centers

As the letter explains, these cuts would reduce personnel levels in an agency that is already struggling to carry out its basic functions due to unfilled vacancies. The information the NWS provides is critical to the everyday life of every American, and
ensuring the agency has adequate resources to carry out its mission is one of the basic functions of Congress.

I urge you to join me in supporting NWS and rejecting these damaging cuts. Please contact Adam Weiss in my office at AdamC.Weiss@mail.house.gov or 5-5701 with questions or to sign on. The deadline for signatures
is Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

Sincerely,

Daniel W. Lipinski

Member of Congress

 

 

Enclosed Letter

March xx, 2018

The Honorable John Culberson

Chairman

Appropriations Subcommittee Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable José Serrano

Ranking Member

Appropriations Subcommittee Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano:

As you work to develop the Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we write to ask for your strong support of two accounts in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Operations, Research,
and Facilities budget: the Analyze, Forecast, and Support account and the Central Processing account. Within the Analyze, Forecast, and Support account, we ask you to reject the following cuts proposed in the President’s Budget Request:

  • $15 million for workforce savings
  • $11 million for reductions to the Tsunami Warning Program, and
  • $1.2 million for consolidating Climate Prediction Center functions into the Weather Prediction Center.

Within the Central Processing account, we ask you to reject the following cut proposed in the President’s Budget Request:

  • $10.1 million cut to the Information Technology Officer (ITO) program.

The workforce savings cut would eliminate 248 weather forecasting positions, approximately 20% of the forecasters at the nation’s 122 weather forecast offices. These cuts come at a time when our weather forecast offices are already understaffed, as evidenced
by a 2017 Government Accountability Office report which said that as a result of vacancies, NWS employees are “unable at times to perform key tasks.”[1] Weather
forecast offices currently operate 24/7, but the President’s proposed cuts would force some of them to reduce their operating hours, leaving the regions of the country they serve without a local forecaster at certain times of day.

The proposed cut to the Tsunami Warning Program would result in the loss of 25 positions and reduce our ability to provide advanced warning of oncoming natural disasters. The President’s budget request also encourages merging the Tsunami Warning Centers
in Hawaii and Alaska, which would contravene Section 504 of the Weather Research and Forecasting Improvement Act of 2017.

The proposed cut to the Climate Prediction Center would eliminate eight positions and result in a loss of models and data products that support planning and execution activities at the Department of Defense and the United States Agency for International
Development, undermining our national security.

Cutting $10.1 million from the ITO program would eliminate 74 positions and bring an end to the presence of on-site IT Officers in each Weather Forecast Office. The National Weather Service recognized the value of these Officers in its Service Assessment
of its performance during Hurricane Matthew,[2] and Congress has rejected this proposed cut every year for the past five years.

As is stated in the Administration’s budget request, “advance notice provided by weather forecasts enables the Nation’s leaders, decision makers, and media to provide better warnings and advisories to the first responders, the public, and businesses. Getting
this right reduces the catastrophic loss of human life and property and the damaging effects on the national economy.” We agree with this sentiment and ask you to reject the cuts described above to ensure the National Weather Service is adequately resourced
to carry out its mission.

We appreciate your consideration of this request.

 

Sincerely,

 


[1] https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-364

[2] https://www.weather.gov/media/publications/assessments/HurricaneMatthew8-17.pdf

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Environment, Science
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