Dear @@first_name@@ @@last_name@@:
As most of you know by now the federal sequestration, which took effect on March 1st, mandated a 5.1 percent cut this year to all federal non-defense discretionary spending, including the National Institutes of Health and other federal research agencies. It is possible that the cut will increase to 8% next year. Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, has issued a general guideline of a 10% cut in all new and renewal NIH grants for the current fiscal year operated under a continuing resolution. In addition, there is a Senate Amendment (#67), introduced by Senators Tom Coburn and John McCain, that would severely curtail travel of federal employees, including program staff, to attend scientific and educational meetings.
As president of your Society, I am taking this unusual step to encourage you to contact your congressional representatives as individual voting citizens of our country to urge them to prevent further budget cuts to National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal research agencies. Many of our members rely on federally-funded grants to support their laboratories and conduct innovative research that impact on important national as well as global health issues. In addition, these research funds play an important part in career development for our young, tenure-track members. The presence of NIH, NASA and DOE program staff at our annual meeting provides an important venue of communication for our members with the funding agencies, and helps promote research support for our field.
Please take a moment to send a note to your local congressional representatives and urge them to work towards a bipartisan plan that invests in research and education for a better and more competitive United States of America. The sequestration will have devastating effects on the research foundation of this country that took generations to build and it will afflict an insurmountable loss to our next generations of scientists. For a sample letter, please check out the following websites: