Communicating With Congress: Now is the Time

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Publication date: 
21 April 2004

"Politics is not a spectator sport. Yet far too many scientists and engineers sit on the sidelines while major decisions are being made on science policy and funding."- Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Michigan)

"Too often scientists avoid politics in the same way that many Members of Congress avoid science. This is a formula for failure." - Rep. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey)

Over the next five weeks, major decisions will be made concerning the level of federal funding for programs that are of interest to the physics community. An important factor in determining the amount of money a department, agency, or program will receive is the amount of correspondence and other communications that Members of Congress get from their constituents. Now is the time to act.

The American Institute of Physics has a science policy website designed to assist you in communicating with Congress. Among this site's features are:

Guidance is provided on corresponding to, and visiting with, Members of Congress. Information on key chairman and their committees and links to locators for your representative and senators, including their e-mail addresses, is available. E-mail is recommended because of time-consuming screening procedures for U.S. mail. This site has a correspondence link for members of the American Physical Society. See

Information on the Administration's FY 2005 budget request for the Defense Department, Energy Department, NASA, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, and science education programs can be found at

Information on the latest congressional budget action on the Administration's budget requests for the above departments, agencies and budgets is at

An archive of 2004 issues (and earlier) of FYI, as well as a search engine for FYI can be accessed at

Sixteen AIP exhibits highlight the important links between federal funding for basic and applied research and development and their economic benefits to society. Hard copy versions of these Physics Success Stories are available without charge. See

Policy statements issued by different science coalitions to which AIP and some of its Member Societies belong recommend funding levels for the science and technology programs of the Department of Defense, the Office of Science of the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Education Department's Math and Science Partnership Program. See

Links to public policy sites for six of AIP's Member Societies are at

Please contact us if we can be of assistance.