The National Science Foundation needs $8 billion in fiscal 2017 to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in the global economy, a pair of congressmen say. Reps. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.) are circulating a letter that asks their fellow House of Representatives members to support increased funding for NSF. They propose $8 billion, a figure slightly above the President’s fiscal 2017 budget request and 7.2% higher than the agency’s fiscal 2016 appropriation of $7.5 billion. “We feel this amount is the minimum level of funding needed to prepare future generations to help our nation remain a world economic leader and to reflect the rising costs of research,” their letter says. Their goal may be a challenge because House Republican appropriators last week put forward a budget proposal that calls for steep funding cuts across the government. The letter writers may have their constituents at heart: McKinley’s district includes West Virginia University, and Butterfield’s is home to Duke University and part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.