FASEB Societies Use the Summer Recess in Washington to Bring Home the Impact of the Sequester
Created by on 9/12/2013 12:00:00 AM

By Allison Lea

Capitol Hill may have been quiet during its August recess, but several of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) member societies were busy engaging elected officials and the community in discussions of sequestration and its effect on research funding and public health programs. Some societies also urged their members to seek out advocacy opportunities in support of basic research.
The American Physiological Society urged their members to take advantage of FASEB’s CapWiz Alerts regarding funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation and made available on their website a simple, user-friendly template for members when writing a letter to Congress in support of research funding.
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) coordinated over 80 meetings with district offices to discuss issues confronting biological and biomedical research. In August, ASBMB also released a report on government-funded scientific research titled “Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity,” after surveying over 3,700 scientists on the impact of sequestration on research.
A Fellow from The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics attended a Town Hall meeting with Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) and several other Fellows wrote letters and op-eds that were published in their local newspapers:
The Endocrine Society (TES) created an NIH Funding Advocacy Toolkit that provides its members with different options to increase awareness of the importance of NIH grant funding. TES members also participated in Town Hall forums and several of TES’s online campaigns, one of which resulted in hundreds of emails to Congress to stop sequestration. TES President Teresa K. Woodruff, PhD, had an op-ed published in the New York Times on September 10 outlining the impact of sequestration on biomedical research.
The American Association of Immunologists arranged a meeting for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s health staffer with researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University.  
Three FASEB Board members also held district meetings with their representatives over the break. Laura Niedernhofer, MD, PhD, representative for The American Society for Clinical Investigation, presented a list of examples provided by her colleagues at the Scripps Institute who have had existing projects cut or have not received grants due to sequestration to staff from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) district office. She also spoke with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) at a public forum in Palm Beach County. During the last week of the summer break, Dr. Niedernhofer and other Scripps faculty organized a tour of the campus for aides from Senator Nelson’s and Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) district offices. After the tour, Nelson and Rubio’s staff met with a small group of faculty to discuss how the federal budget cuts are affecting local researchers.
FASEB Vice President-Elect for Science Policy and representative for The Society for Glycobiology Hudson Freeze, PhD, met with Rep. Scott Peters’s (D-CA) staff in San Diego and FASEB President-Elect and Michigan State University (MSU) administrator Joseph Haywood, PhD, spoke with aides from the offices of Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Carl Levin (D-MI) and Rep. Sander Levin’s (D-MI) about the impact of the federal budget reductions on a Department of Energy lab located on the MSU campus.