This post initially appeared on Science Blogs
Tomorrow, as part of the @ASBMB "Hill Day," I'm headed to capitol hill to meet with my congressman and my senators (or more likely their staff) in order to plead for science funding. If you pay any attention to politics, you know that congress has been locked in budget battles for months, and since government grants account for the vast majority of basic science research have a pretty large stake in this fight. One Republican proposal out of the house (that was defeated in the senate) cut over $1 billion of NIH spending. I doubt this is out of malice, but when trying to reduce spending when over two thirds of the budget is untouchable, even funding cancer research can come under the chopping block.
I've been interested in science policy for a while now, and I think it's great that the ASBMB provides this opportunity for graduate students around the country to get involved in advocacy. Tomorrow, our main goal is to convince our representatives that it's imperative to at least maintain the current level of funding for the NIH and NSF at last year's levels (which is still a budget cut when you factor in inflation), and to hopefully convince them to increase the budget to $35 billion for fiscal year 2012. If you've got a moment, please call your representatives and tell them how important you think funding science is. They need to hear from you.
I'm going to be running all over the place tomorrow, but I'm going to try to keep on top of the tweets (check the sidebar if you're into that sort of thing). You can also follow @ASBMB and Ben Corb (@bwcorb), who will probably be far more diligent than I, and will be paying attention to all the other students as well.