Communicating With Congress

Funding for government agencies is controlled by Congress. The ability for an agency to provide grant funding for university research, whether that is through the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, or any science agency, is decided on by your representatives and senators. Congress makes many decisions that affect the US research enterprise including authorizing money for new programs, creating new departments within an agency, funding new equipment, and allocating resources for activities at national laboratories.

It is important for Congress to hear from you as scientists and educators, about the need for this funding. In these tight budget times, Congress must make some very difficult decisions and make cuts to program funding. Whereas congressional staff members are very knowledgeable about policy, they often do not have science backgrounds. It is therefore very helpful for them to hear from scientists who can provide details on practical benefit of research and descriptions of uses for government funding in the lab.

Few Members of Congress regularly hear from scientists and science teachers, and yet each Member welcomes the opinions and thoughts of their constituents. They also want to hear from organizations, such as the American Association of Physics Teachers, which work to promote and advocate for specific issues. The American Association of Physics Teachers along with the American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, American Astronomical Society, the Optical Society, and the American Geophysical Union have staff who are available to answer questions about policy and can provide information on how to contact Congress.

The resources below can provide further information about policy issues on Capitol Hill:

The American Association of Physics Teachers

The American Institute of Physics  

The American Physical Society

The American Geophysical Union

The American Astronomical Society  

The Optical Society

For more information, contact:
Beth Cunningham, Executive Officer, American Association of Physics Teachers
Aline McNaull, Policy Associate, American Institute of Physics
Tyler Glembo, Government Relations Specialist, American Physical Society