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Tips for Meeting with Members of Congress

Use our tips for meeting with your members of Congress to successfully advocate for biological and biomedical research.

  • Introduce yourself (and meeting participants)
    • Briefly provide your background information and mention that you are a constituent
  • Tell a personal story 
    • Quickly summarize the topic of your research
    • If you receive federal funding, note the agency that supports your research and the specific disease or condition it’s related to
    • Provide examples of new opportunities to expand your area of research and what impact it may have on science and individuals
  • Share what you (or members of your field) hope to accomplish with your research
    • Explain how your area of research improves health, produces new knowledge, creates jobs or supports the local economy
  • Share the impact of federal funding on your state and district
  • Acknowledge the legislator’s previous support of federal funding for research
  • Make the “ask”
  • Close the meeting
    • Repeat your “ask”
    • Thank the person for meeting with you
    • Leave your contact information  (phone, email, mailing address)
    • Encourage your legislator (and/or their aides) to visit your lab

Talking Points for Meetings with Members of Congress

Updated April 2020

Talk about your research

Describe the broader implications or importance of your research and the federal agencies that fund it. For example: i. How does your research produce new knowledge, improve health, lead to new innovations, jobs, etc.?

Our “asks”

Broad Message:

  • We applaud the swift action by Congress to provide additional research funds to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • These funds will help address immediate public health needs resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak as well as support additional research to understand the virus, develop rapid diagnostics, vaccines, and effective treatments and deploy them to the public
  • Over the course of the pandemic and beyond, Congress must provide robust, sustained, and predictable budget increases for science funding agencies
    • The COVID-19 outbreak highlights the importance of sustained federal investments in research – scientists are building on knowledge generated by past federal investments to combat this current epidemic and prepare for future public health emergencies

NIH

  • We recommend an NIH funding level of at least $44.7 billion in FY 2021
  • We are extremely grateful for the NIH budget increases over the last five years, which have accelerated progress across all areas of biomedical science
  • Congress must continue to provide robust increases for NIH in order to address daunting public health issues, including emerging infectious diseases and the needs of an aging U.S. population

NSF

  • We recommend an NSF funding level of at least $9.4 billion in FY 2021
  • NSF has the unique capacity to support interdisciplinary research, organize and lead research partnerships, and train the next generation of scientists
    • In partnership with NIH, NSF plays a key role in advancing health and other critical priorities [Refer to NIH/NSF Factsheet – see below]
  • Despite being the cornerstone of our nation’s scientific enterprise, NSF has not seen a real budget increase in nearly 20 years [Figure 2 of FY 2021 Funding Recommendations Brochure – see below]

Closing

  • Thank the person for speaking with you
  • Invite the staff person/Senator/Representative to reach out to you if they would like any additional information about biological or biomedical research

Follow-Up

 

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