US citizens amongst readers and well-wishers of this blog, here is an important legislative alert via the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), of which I am a member. I have shared previous legislative alerts with you – to inform you and enable your participation in this nation’s democratic processes, so that your voice reaches your elected representatives. This time is no different, and this is as crucial as before. I received it via email this morning (the emphasis on the links by bold-face is mine); please read and act.

Legislative Alert: Contact Budget Conference Committee to Increase Funding For Innovative Basic Research and Public Health Programs

Dear Colleague:

The budget cuts to nondefense and defense discretionary federal funding, known as sequestration, are having a devastating effect on innovative basic research funding.  Sequestration resulted in a $1.5 billion reduction in funding for NIH in FY 2013, resulting in a historically low success rate of 17 percent. In October, the Continuing Resolution of 2014 was signed into law extending the debt ceiling through February 7, 2014, and temporarily restoring funding for government agencies until January 15, 2014.  The legislation also spurred the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral, Budget Conference Committee led by Representative Paul Ryan, chair of the House Budget Committee and Senator Patty Murray, chair of the Senate Budget Committee.  The Committee has an opportunity to provide relief from the next round of sequester cuts scheduled for January 2014.  The Budget Committee has started to meet and their report is due by December 13.

To help ensure that innovative basic research is not cut and is prioritized for an increase, it is important to contact your congressional delegation to urge them to replace sequestration and to restore funding cuts to federal agencies that support innovative basic research and public health programs.   If you live in the district of one of the members of the committee, your communication is especially critical.  To see a list of the Budget Conference Committee members click here

The ASM sent a letter on October 29 to the Budget Conference Committee, which is available here. Information taken from a new report from The Science Coalition, illustrates the many returns on investment of federally funded research and is available here. Some or all of these talking points may be useful as you contact your congressional delegation members.

For updates on federal budget policy and guidance on contacting and meeting with your congressional delegation go to the ASM’s Research and Advocacy web page

Please go to the ASM’s Legislative Action Center to send a message urging that sequestration be replaced and that funding for innovative basic research be increased.

Thank you for taking action!


Jeffery F. Miller, Ph.D., President, ASM
Ronald M. Atlas, Ph.D., Chair, Public and Scientific Affairs Board