Hat tip to Dr. Isis, for her post on the letter from FASEB asking for scientists to contact their congressional representatives to oppose the proposed $1.2 billion dollar budget cut to the NIH budget in HR1. Paylines are already tight, and between the potential 5% cut in the budget proposed in HR1 and the ever increasing cost of doing science, this would put many people out of work. I've already broken out pen and paper and am writing a handwritten letter to my congressman.
This is go time people and if you ever complain about people not getting into the fight to advocate for science, this is your chance to make a difference. Pass this on to a colleague or better yet bring it up in your lab or faculty meeting and have folks in your lab or department write letters to their representatives. Tell them what you do, how it will make a difference, how it will make the human condition a much better one. Also tell them the detrimental effects to you and those personally around you if this funding cut goes through. People laid off, studies left undone, patients left untreated. Make them see that this would be more than cutting a line item on a budget, this is about cutting the careers of many who have worked so hard to see that our lives are improved. Please take the time to communicate the importance of science funding with your congressional representative. I fear that if we do not advocate for science, and quite strongly for this manner, this will be the first of many cuts to come our way in the future.
See the contents of the letter below:
For months the new House leadership has been promising to cut billions in federal funding in fiscal year (FY) 2011. Later this week the House will try to make the rhetoric a reality by voting on HR 1, a "continuing resolution" (CR) that would cut NIH funding by $1.6 billion (5.2%) BELOW the current level - reducing the budget for medical research to $29.4 billion!
We must rally everyone - researchers, trainees, lab personnel - in the scientific community to protest these draconian cuts. Please go to [this link] for instructions on how to call your Representative's Washington, DC office today! Urge him/her to oppose the cuts to NIH and vote against HR 1. Once you've made the call, let us know how it went by sending a short email to the address provided in the call instructions and forward the alert link to your colleagues. We must explain to our Representatives how cuts to NIH will have a devastating impact on their constituents!
William T. Talman, MD