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ALERT: Visit Capitol Hill and Extol the Virtues of the Geosciences!

(Posted 1-28-04)

This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies.

Although the economy is showing signs of a rebound, we are still fighting a war on terrorism at home and abroad. With rising deficits, spending cuts will be made in the upcoming budget year. Federal geoscience agencies will be feeling the pressure, and it is important that these seed-corn investments in the future be maintained. More than ever, the geoscience community needs to make a strong case to Congress on the value of these programs.

Each spring, the Science-Engineering-Technology Congressional Visits Day (CVD) brings over 200 scientists and engineers to Capitol Hill to visit Members of Congress and their staff right at the start of the congressional budget cycle. This year, CVD will take place March 3-4, 2004. It will consist of an opening day of briefings by key administration and congressional leaders (including a morning pre-briefing at AGU for geoscience participants) followed by a day of constituent meetings with senators, representatives, and their staff that we can help arrange.

Participants in CVD are asked to carry forward a core message that federally funded research is the Nation's foundation for the future. In addition, participants can advance their own messages about programs that they see as valuable examples of the federal science and technology enterprise emphasizing, for example, the value of the geosciences to society.

It is vital for geoscientists to be represented in science-community efforts if our discipline is to be a recognizable (and valued) element in the congressional view of "science." For anyone interested in science policy, this is an opportunity to meet your elected official and experience Washington, DC at the height of political activity -- the beginning of the budget cycle is always an action-packed, fast-paced time. We especially encourage the leadership of AGI's Member Societies to attend.

If you have participated in CVD previously, this is a chance to continue building a relationship with your Members of Congress and their staff. If not, there is no better time than now to sit down and talk about funding priorities that are important to you and the larger science, engineering and technology community. Because Congressional offices are notoriously small, your meeting may be in the Member's office, before or after a committee hearing or while walking down the hall to vote. Whatever the situation, the experience is sure to be memorable for you both. You may also want to consider attending this meeting as a group with your colleagues.

More information about CVD and the core message is available on the CVD website at The site will contain a downloadable packet of briefing materials to update you on the need for sustained federal investment in science research, help orchestrate your visit and familiarize you with the legislative process. In addition, AGI has a number of articles and updates on its Government Affairs website ( that can provide background and context for some of the issues you may want to discuss.

If you would like to participate or have any questions or would like our assistance in setting up a visit, call Emily M. Lehr in AGI's Government Affairs Program at (703) 379-2480 x. 212 or e-mail her at

CVD is organized by the Science-Engineering-Technology Work Group (of which AGI is a member).

Alert prepared by Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted January 28, 2004