The Penn Science Policy Group on the Federal Budget and “How You Can Save Science”

In a previous article (“How You Can Save Science: Why the Federal budget cuts are bad for Penn’s scientific innovation” by Shaun O’Brien, Guest Column, February 15, 2013) in the Daily Pennsylvanian, Shaun O’Brien of the Penn Science Policy Group discussed how budget issues may affect science funding. O’Brien sent an email update, giving more detail on how postdocs might be impacted by NIH budget issues, and what we can do about it.

Date:    Thu, 26 Sep 2013 11:00:45 -0700

Subject: Protect the NIH from a Govt Shutdown

Hi everyone,

First, thank you again for your support with our Hill Day visit last week. We had 30 students and 2 faculty members participate, and we were able to meet with Congress members and staffers from multiple states. The Daily Penn did a recap.

We also shared stories from faculty and students about the negative impact of the sequester. These accounts will be sent along to our PA Congressional staff, and you can participate anonymously here-http://tinyurl.com/pa9sh2d

On Saturday, the House of Representatives will be debating a short-term funding bill that has been revised by the Senate. If they fail to agree on the revised bill, there will be a government shutdown.  There are multiple outcomes that could happen in the next 48 hours (including another short-term bill to fund the govt for a week), but this is an important time for our House and Senate members to hear from us.

A Govt Shutdown would result in no new grants being issued or contracts being awarded, while the shutdown is in effect. The last shutdown was for 3 weeks in 1996.

The biggest concern would be a “compromise” funding bill that could include additional spending cuts.  Additionally, debt ceiling talks and discussions on the sequester will also be starting up this Fall-thus, we need to contact Congress to let them know about the importance of protecting NIH funding.

I would strongly encourage our students and faculty to contact the following PA members of Congress (if you vote in those House districts) and tell them that it is important to protect NIH funding during this current budget debate. This is especially important to do in the next 48 hours.

You can research your Congressional members here-http://capwiz.com/ram/dbq/officials/ and figure out your voting districts here-http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Or you can call the following PA GOP members offices.  Most of the Republican members of Congress have visited Penn in the past, and it is important that they hear from their constituents now.-

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R), represents 6th District (Berks, Chester, Montgomery, Lebanon Counties) DC office is 202.225.4315, Local office contacts can be found here-http://gerlach.house.gov/contact/officeinformation.htm

Rep. Pat Meehan (R), represents 7th District ( Amity Township, Paradise, Whitpain Township, Honeybrook). DC office is 202.225.2011 and local office is (610) 690-7323http://meehan.house.gov/contact-me/

Rep. Charles Dent (R)-represents 15th District (Dauphin, Leigh, Lebanon, Berks, Northampton). DC office is 202-225-6411. Local office is  (610) 770-3490https://dent.house.gov/?p=ContactForm

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R)-represents 8th District (Bucks, Montgomery County). DC office is (202) 225-4276 and his local office is (215) 579-8102https://fitzpatrick.house.gov/contact-me

Sen. Pat Toomey-DC office is 202.224.4254 and local Philly office is (215) 241-1090http://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=contact

Thank you again for your support and effort.  Our efforts this Fall will be especially important to our careers in science, as the Federal Govt needs to be encouraged to continue to invest in science and not move away from funding the NIH.

Thanks,
Shaun O’Brien
Please, share the message below with your e-mail lists.

More resources are available here:

http://www.faseb.org/Portals/0/PDFs/opa/Sequestration%20factsheet.pdf

http://www.faseb.org/Policy-and-Government-Affairs/Advocacy-on-Capitol-Hill.aspx

http://www.faseb.org/Policy-and-Government-Affairs.aspx

http://www.aaas.org/spp/cstc/issues/sequestration_resources.shtml

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