Tag Archives: policy

A Wish List for the 114th Congress to Consider

By Caleph B. Wilson, Ph.D., a biomedical researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, logistics director of the National Science Policy Group, science communicator and STEM outreach advocate. Follow him on Twitter as @HeyDrWilson.

CalephWith the 114th Congress underway, the scientific community is looking forward to sharing new research breakthroughs and advocating for STEM during a series of congressional visits to Capitol Hill. In some instances, scientists and trainees will assist writing congressional briefs and give testimony to House and Senate committees on science, technology and health.

While Congress is considering science policy initiatives, positions and funding, there are a few things in the early-career scientist “wish list” that would make improvements and maintain the United States’ leading position in the scientific enterprise.

Throughout 2014, early-career scientists discussed specific issues in science policy groups, on social media and in articles that need to be addressed. These are some of the highlights of the conversations that have been put in a “Wish List” that hopefully Congress and policymakers will strongly consider.

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding that is predictable and keeps pace with inflation.

In the early 1990s, the NIH budget increased dramatically. However, over the last 10 years the NIH budget has flat-lined and even decreased at times. Unfortunately, the budget has not kept pace with inflation and rising costs of executing experiments. With changes in the economy and the sweeping budget cuts that came in with sequestration, government agencies, institutions and investigators can better plan with predictable budget appropriations that keep pace with scientific opportunity. Continue reading →

Meeting with Legislative Staff Members

Excerpt of a guest post by Research!America Manager of Policy and Advocacy Caitlin Leach, published in the Fight Colorectal Cancer blog to help prepare their advocates for their Hill day, Call-on Congress, on March 18.

CLAs you prepare for your trip to Call-on Congress in Washington, make room in your luggage for your stories, your experiences and your hope for the future. Your perspectives bring legislative issues to life. Anecdotes about colorectal cancer’s impact on you and your community are essential for your representatives in Washington and their staff members to hear.

Members of Congress make decisions by weighing the facts and evidence, but also based on the insights their constituents share about how policy impacts their lives. Adding your voice to the conversation is critical to successful advocacy.

Meeting with Legislative Staff

While you are in Washington this week, many members of the House and Senate will be in recess — meaning the Members are back home working in their districts. Advocating on the Hill during a congressional recess is just as important as advocating during a busy in-session week.

While you might not get to meet your representative and have a photo-op shaking hands, you will get to meet with the brain trust – congressional staff members. This will be during a time when they have less-hectic schedules and more time to devote their attention to the issues.

Members of Congress are supported by a team of outstanding staffers who advise them on a variety of policy areas covering everything imaginable. You are likely to meet with a staffer; often a legislative assistant (LA), who handles health or related issues. These individuals are part of a legislative staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes to propose ideas for new policies, brief the representative on issues and take dozens of meetings each week with interest groups and constituents.

These are the policy experts.

Read the full blog post here.