American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program SPECIAL UPDATE


Letters To Congress Needed In Support Of Science Budget

Posted June 11, 1997, Action Completed

AGI's Government Affairs Program (GAP) seeks to keep the AGI member societies informed of its activities and related events in Washington through monthly updates and occasional special updates. Monthly updates go out to members of the AGI Government Affairs Program (GAP) Advisory Committee as well as the leadership of AGI's member societies and other interested geoscientists. Prior updates can be found under "Government Affairs" on AGI's homepage <>. For additional information, contact the program at <>.

Latest Action:
President Clinton signed all of the FY98 appropriations bills into law in the fall of 1997. More information on these bills is available on the AGI website.

Alert Text
In March, the presidents of AGI and several other geoscience societies signed on to an open letter to Congress and President Clinton calling on them to "renew the nation's historical commitment to scientific research and education." The letter went on to urge their support of a 7 percent increase in federal spending on scientific research in fiscal year 1998.

That letter was developed by the American Physical Society, which has followed up with a letter-writing campaign from scientists to Congress, reinforcing the society presidents' message. Different societies agreed to take a week to mobilize their membership. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) was assigned the week of June 8-12, and AGU has sent out a message calling on its members to write letters to their representatives and senators about the importance of maintaining strong science and technology budgets. AGI encourages all of its member societies and their membership to lend their efforts to this campaign as well.

With the budget resolution finally complete, the appropriations process has begun in earnest. Now is a great time to voice your support for science, and particularly for the geosciences. The AGU message includes helpful hints on writing to your senator or representative. AGI's web site contains contact information and additional hints. The web site also contains the original letter from the society presidents and background information on the budget resolution and appropriations process.

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like information on your representative or senators. Please send a copy of any letters you write to us at AGI Government Affairs Program, 4220 King Street, Alexandria VA 22302-1502.

The AGU Science Legislative Alert, sent out yesterday, follows:


We are asking you to lend your voice to the effort to educate legislators about the importance of maintaining strong science and technology budgets.

AGU, along with more than 40 other scientific societies, has urged Congress and the Administration to support an increase in federal support for scientific research for Fiscal Year (FY) 1998 in the range of 7%.

Societies representing over a million engineers, mathematicians, and scientists, issued a joint statement earlier this year addressed to President Clinton and the Congress that argued for "a renewal of the nation's historic commitment to scientific research and education."

The federal science and technology budget for FY 1997 is approximately $43.4 billion. Nevertheless, this amount declined since 1994 by 5%. Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) has said that in 1965, 5.7% of the federal budget went for non-defense research. By comparison, in 1997, that figure is only 1.9%.

Please take the time to write letters to your Representative and Senators and ask them to support the 7% increase in research funding for FY 1998.

Here are some helpful hints on how to write a letter to your elected representatives:

1. Write a well-reasoned, personal letter.

2. Limit the letter to only one page and be specific about the issue. Leave out scientific jargon.

3. The first paragraph should include your credentials and pertinent information that explains why you are writing.

4. The second paragraph should describe the importance of the issue on a national and local level. Do not include personal problems or emotions. Cite relevant facts, especially as they affect the local district or state.

5. The third paragraph should request a specific action.

6. Lastly, thank the Member for his/her consideration of your views. Offer your assistance to provide future information.

7. The letter must be legible and include your name, address, and telephone number. The correct address format is:

The Honorable ________
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative ______:

The Honorable _________
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator________:

It is important that letters be sent as soon as possible. Congress is returning from the Memorial Day recess and will be debating and voting on the budget this summer.

ASLA 97-11: AGU Science Legislative Alert (ASLA)
David W. Thomas, AGU Public and Government Relations Manager
A KOSMOS service for AGU members.
E-mail address:

Contributed by David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs

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

Last updated June 11, 1997

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