The responses provided by the congressional offices understandably were subdued; while many on the appropriations committees have long been supporters of biomedical research, a general theme amongst the House and Senate staff was noting that health care reform was taking most of the congressional resources, and, combined with the traditional delays in budgeting that occur in the first year of a new administration, a quick resolution may not be at hand. However, many also noted President Obama is a strong supporter of research and said they were hopeful that NIH would receive adequate funding.
Despite uncertainty concerning the budget, the mood after the event remained bright for the participants, who praised their unique experience. ASBMB and the PAAC hope to make Hill visits by young investigators a recurring event and also to have students and postdocs visit local congressional offices and have policymakers take tours of university labs in their districts.
Nick Zagorski is a science writer at ASBMB. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We asked our nine American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Hill Day attendees to answer some questions so we could learn a little more about them as well as their motivations to go to Capitol Hill. >>Meet the ASBMB Hill Day Attendees.