Dear ASA Members,
Large across-the-board federal budget cuts will take effect in January unless Congress and President Obama negotiate a compromise. With 8.2% cuts for NIH, NSF, and the statistical agencies, statisticians and biostatisticians will see far fewer funding opportunities, and statistical agencies will have to scale back their vital work.
I ask you to urge your U.S. senators and representative not to cut the budgets of these important agencies. Here are three options for contacting them today.
1. Call their offices. You can find contact information at the House of Representatives website (or enter your ZIP code at www.house.gov/representatives/find) and at the Senate website.
2. Use the contact feature on your senators’ and representative’s websites. See option 1 for accessing these web pages. Use the template language at the end of this email.
3. Use the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s action-alert website. This website has customizable template messages and will send them to your senators and representative based on your ZIP code. The template message includes this broad language: “[The across-the-board cuts] will require NIH, NSF, and other federal agencies to make funding cuts that will affect all areas of research and prevent critical projects from being completed at universities and institutions across the country.” If you use this option, please edit the language to include the federal statistical agencies.
If you choose option 1, the message to your elected representatives is simple: “Do not cut the budgets of NIH, NSF, and the federal statistical agencies.”
For options 1 and 2, your message will be more powerful if you personalize it by explaining how budget cuts could affect your research, students, or institution. Generally, these cuts would mean an estimated 2,300 fewer grants funded by NIH next year and 1,500 fewer by NSF.
If you are a government employee, please do not use your work resources to contact your members of Congress.
To learn more about the across-the-board budget cuts, go to the following websites:
By sending you this action alert, the ASA seeks to ensure NIH, NSF, and the statistical agencies don’t suffer disproportionate budget cuts. As you can imagine, Congress is hearing from constituents concerned about a wide swath of federal programs, and it’s easiest for Congress to cut programs they are not hearing about. That’s why it is so critical for you to communicate your concerns about the planned budget cuts.
Thank you for your consideration. If you have questions, contact Steve Pierson, ASA director of science policy, at (703) 302-1841.
2012 ASA President
P.S. Please note that during its August 2009 meeting, the ASA Board of Directors approved sending call-to-action emails to ASA members only about urgent statistical and science policy issues being debated in Washington, DC. If you prefer not to receive these types of emails in the future, please email Steve Pierson.
Template language for option #2 above (adopted from FASEB website):
Please insert 2–3 sentences about how the cuts would affect your work, research, institution, students, …
Dear Senator/Representative ____,
I am writing to urge you to work with your fellow members of Congress and the president to ensure the pending across-the-board budget cuts do not take effect. The 8.2% budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the federal statistical agencies would be very harmful to the U.S. research and statistical data infrastructure.
The cuts to NSF and NIH would mean fewer grants at a time when a high proportion of highly rated proposals already go unfunded. This will affect all areas of research and prevent critical projects from being completed. Labs may be forced to close, resulting in layoffs of tens of thousands of researchers. It will take generations to recover the lost talent, as highly trained and dedicated young scientists and engineers will be driven from science by the disruption to their training and lack of jobs. The damage to our nation's health, security, and international competitiveness will be devastating.
The cuts to the statistical agencies could affect our decision making and ultimately cost the taxpayer more money. Data from the federal statistical agencies facilitate i) economic growth and development, ii) smart and efficient government, and iii) the saving of taxpayer money. As an example of the third point, extensive research, testing, and planning are under way now for the 2020 Decennial Census. The GAO has said that, unless major design changes are made, the 2020 Decennial Census could cost the American taxpayer $17 billion more than the 2010 Census. Reducing the U.S. Census Bureau budget could therefore undermine the critical 2020 Decennial Census cost-cutting work now being done.