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Keywords:

  • AGU members;
  • 5th Annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day;
  • science funding

With the “fiscal cliff” of sequestration drawing closer and threatening to hit basic science research funding with an 8.2% cut, according to an estimate by the Office of Management and Budget, congressional compromise on a budget plan is more urgent than ever. To discuss the value of scientific research and education with their senators and representatives, 55 Earth and space scientists from 17 states came to Washington, D. C., on 11–12 September to participate in the fifth annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day sponsored by AGU and six other geoscience organizations. Although their specialties varied from space weather to soil science, the scientists engaged members of Congress and their staff in a total of 116 meetings to discuss a common goal: securing continued, steady investment in the basic scientific research that allows scientists to monitor natural hazards, manage water and energy resources, and develop technologies that spur economic growth and job creation. To make the most of these visits on 12 September, participants attended a training session the previous day, during which they learned about the details of the policy- making process and current legislative developments and practiced conducting a congressional meeting. Congressional Science Fellows, including past AGU fellow Rebecca French, described their experiences as scientists working on Capitol Hill, and White House policy analyst Bess Evans discussed the president's stance on sequestration and funding scientific research.