Mary Woolley Weekly Advocacy Messages

Dear Research Advocate,

This letter is my 400th, having started this journey in July 2011. 

Dear Research Advocate:

Yesterday, the House Budget Committee approved (on a party-line vote, 19-17) legislation that would raise the fiscal year 2020 (FY20) non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending cap by $631 billion, a 5.7 percent increase over the 2019 cap, and raise the defense cap by $664 billion, a 2.6 percent increase. The House is expected to consider the legislation on the floor early next week.

The fact that legislation to raise the caps is being considered signals important progress. Our science-focused Raise the Caps campaign and other individual and collaborative advocacy efforts like that of NDD United are pushing hard for action, because -- as Senate Appropriations Chair, Richard Shelby (R- AL) warned earlier this week -- failing to act now puts us on the path to “stopgaps” (keep in mind that because of the budget caps, stopgap measures come with deep, across-the-board cuts!)

Speaking recently to the “New Voices” group at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, as well as to young scientists during a visit to the University of Miami, I was energized by the passion, determination and commitment they all have for engaging the public.

Dear Research Advocate:

Yesterday was the first day of spring and with it comes the hustle and bustle of appropriations season. Rumor has it House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) plans to begin marking up fiscal year (FY) 2020 legislation as soon as late April with a Defense/Labor-HHS mini package among the first bills. 

The advocacy awards dinner was equally exhilarating and humbling...

A Senate HELP Committee hearing this week examined what is driving preventable disease outbreaks. A key issue of discussion – as observed in our 2018 survey data – is growing public suspicion about the benefit of vaccines. The hearing also focused on the need for a robust public health infrastructure that can prevent public health threats.

If we do not convince Congress to raise the budget caps, science funding will take a major hit. I’m sounding an alarm here.

Dear Research Advocate:

Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, gave his first public address at the AAAS Annual Meeting last Friday. He discussed the importance of taking stock of the entire research and development enterprise, in order to provide a clear picture of U.S. capabilities in a global context that features other nations “nipping at our heels,” and then, drawing on this assessment — as well as the enduring values of our nation — to plan for the future in ways we haven’t seen since the Vannevar Bush report, The Endless Frontier, appeared after WWII. 

The Congress is poised to pass, and the President appears ready to sign, a final FY19 spending package, averting another shutdown.


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