Tips, tools, and resources for effective and impactful biology and science advocacy.
Congressional Meeting Video
Watch this short video of a meeting between scientists and congressional staff. Although this is just an example, it will give you an idea of the format of such meetings.
Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits
- Participant handbook
- Talking points for 2019 Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits
- Talking points on Collections for 2019 Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits
- Tips for a Successful Tour of a Research Facility
Fact Sheets on the Importance of Biological Research
- AIBS fact sheet on the value of federal investments in biological sciences
- AIBS fact sheet on place-based research
- Fact sheets from the Natural Science Collections Alliance on the value of natural history collections
Information on Research in the States
- NSF general and state fact sheets
- NSF Funding in the States
- SEE Innovation on Research.gov--Learn about NSF research and education investments in your state
- NSF funding by state
- NIH funding by state
- National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators 2020
Federal Research Funding
The federal budget has two practical purposes:
- The budget provides a financial record of federal revenue and expenditures.
- The budget articulates the nation's priorities by allocating limited discretionary funds to various federal programs, such as funding for the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, and so forth.
President's Budget Request
Each spring, the Administration begins to work with federal agencies to prepare the budget requests for the following fiscal year. For example, federal agencies were working to develop their fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget during late 2019 to early 2020. The federal fiscal year runs from 1 October through 30 September.
The President sends a budget request to Congress each year on the first Monday of February. It is important to remember that the President's budget request is only a spending plan. It is not uncommon for Congress to make adjustments to a President's budget, particularly if the Congress and White House are controlled by different political parties with significant policy differences.
Congressional Budget Process
The congressional budget process begins with the receipt of the President's budget. Through the House and Senate Budget Committees, Congress determines the overall budget amount. Both chambers of Congress convene hearings to receive testimony from Administration officials, non-governmental policy experts, and other stakeholders. The outcome of these deliberations is a budget resolution (ultimately, a Concurrent Resolution when adopted by both chambers of Congress). Concurrent resolutions are non-binding (lack the force of law) and are not sent to the President.
Following adoption of the budget resolution, the appropriations process originates in the House Appropriations Committee. Subcommittees "mark-up" the 12 separate appropriations bills, each providing funds for specific federal departments and programs. Once approved by the Appropriations Committee, the appropriations legislation is sent to the full House of Representatives for consideration and subsequently the passed version is sent to the Senate. The process then repeats itself in the Senate, with the Senate Appropriations Committee drafting its own version of each of the 12 appropriations bills.
The House and Senate versions are rarely the same. Thus, a "conference" process is established in which leaders from both chambers work to reconcile differences in the legislation. Once a reconciled version of the legislation is approved by the House and Senate, the measure is sent to the President to be signed into law or vetoed.
AIBS's Role In the Federal Funding Process
The AIBS Public Policy Office (PPO) provides members of the biological sciences community with timely information about developments in the federal budget and appropriations process. Additionally, AIBS policy staff work to ensure that federal lawmakers understand how their actions relative to federal spending for scientific research impact biological sciences research and education. To this end, AIBS routinely provides formal and informal testimony to decision-makers in Congress and the Administration.
- AIBS report on Biological Innovations: Benefits of Federal Investments in Biology
- AIBS report on the President's FY 2021 Budget Request
- Data Show that Federal Investment in Research Pays Dividends (BioScience, July 2012)
- Transforming the World Through Science 2nd Edition -- An overview of NSF's investments
- Data by Design: Snapshot of NSF's Programs, Processes, Funding & Impact
- AIBS Public Policy Report -- Subscribe to this complimentary bi-weekly e-publication to stay informed of the latest science policy news and analysis
- AIBS Legislative Action Center -- A one-stop-shop for communicating with policymakers