Congress is on recess but will be back in town next week and will be spending much of the spring holding hearings on the President’s budget request and preparing the FY15 appropriations bills. Last week, we took several members of our Board up to the Hill to meet with congressional appropriators and authorizers to discuss the many challenges and opportunities facing our nation and the role that ocean science plays in meeting our national needs. But ultimately, Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents about the important work that you do, and how it helps sustain our nation’s economy, security, environment and health. We here at Ocean Leadership will be having numerous Hill meetings and submitting testimony and appropriations requests. I have said many times that in this fiscal environment, a flat agency budget for science is good news, but to obtain those numbers requires a full court press from everyone and that includes you and your institution. As Tip O’Neil famously said, “all politics are local.” Remember that politics is a contact sport, and there are a lot of competing teams out there. March madness is not just a basketball tournament. It goes on here in Washington as well. So I hope you will reach out to your elected representatives and encourage them to support the science agencies which are important to you and your institution. Otherwise, I fear that we will see a significant reduction in support for research grants from the four agencies (NSF, ONR, NOAA, and NASA) from which our community receives the majority of its funding.
Enjoy the first weekend of spring.