Biophysical Society Newsletter | June 2017





Public Affairs

Ray Lujan (D-NM), Elijah Cumming (D-MD), and Robert Pittinger (R-NC). The message shared with all offices was that science needs predictable, sustainable, and robust funding, with an emphasis on the FY 2017 and FY 2018 budgets. Congress Approves Funding for the Rest of FY 2017 Congress finally came to an agreement on how to fund the federal government through September 30, 2017, during the first week of May — seven months after the start of the fiscal year. The bipartisan bill included $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While both Repub- licans and Democrats in Congress had expressed support for an increase to NIH, the White House had suggested cutting several billion dollars in FY 2017 to help pay for increases in defense spending and the construction of the border wall between the United States and Mexico. President Trump backed down from this request, indicating he would work on securing funding for these priori- ties in the FY 2018 budget. The National Science Foundation received a small increase of $8.7 million over FY 2016 levels, with the increase allocated to Major Research Equipment and the Office of Inspector General. Funding for research and related activities was funded at the FY 2016 amount of $6.033 billion. The Department of Energy Office of Science also received a small increase, with an additional $39 million to spend in FY 2017. Within the Office of Science, advanced computing gets the biggest bump with an extra $10 million, and the US con- tribution to ITER, the international fusion reactor under construction in France, takes a hit with a $65 million decrease. The Society put out a statement applauding Con- gress for its support of science, in particular NIH, when the spending bill was released. The state- ment is available in the newsroom on the Society website

BPS Members Take on Capitol Hill

On April 25 and 26, Biophysical Society mem- bers Kathleen Hall , Washington University, St. Louis, and Christy Gaines , University of Mary- land Baltimore Campus, joined over 250 other scientists, engineers, and business leaders making visits on Capitol Hill as part of STEM on the Hill Congressional Visits Day. This annual event is sponsored by the Science-Engineering-Tech- nology Work Group, of which the Biophysical Society is a participant. The purpose of the visits was to educate Congress about the important role federal funding plays in research and innovation and to express support for sustained and predict- able federal funding for research. This year’s Hill visits were especially timely given that they were a few days after the March for Science and a few days before Congress needed to pass a budget to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year (FY) 2017.

Hall, a member of the BPS Public Affairs Committee and Gaines, a PhD student, are very interested in advocacy, and this event gave them an opportunity to explore those interests and ideas on how they can be science advocates after the event is over. They also had the opportunity to learn about the federal budget for science agencies, the appropriations process, and the legislative process from a panel of speakers that includ- ed representatives from the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Hall (center) and Gaines (right) meet with Pauline Jamry, legislative director for Wm. Lacy Clay.

Hall and Gaines, along with BPS staff member El- len Weiss , met with staff in the offices of Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Richard Burr (R-NC); and Representatives Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Ben

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