ASM Members Meet with Senate Appropriations Chair

ASM volunteer leaders have been on Capitol Hill advocating for funding for the microbial sciences and their messages have accelerated congressional action on funding to address the Zika threat.

On April 26, Kathleen Alexander D.V.M., Ph.D., member of the PSAB Committee on Agricultural andFood Microbiology represented ASM at the 22nd Annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Capitol Hill Exhibition & Reception.  Dr. Alexander presented a poster titled: “Linkages between Multidrug Resistance, Environmental Change and Human Health in Africa: Looking beyond the Usual Suspects” and discussed her research recently published in mBio on Mycobacterium mungi, an emerging TB pathogen found in banded mongoose. Dr. Alexander also met with staff in the offices of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA); Representative H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA-09); Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY-25); and Representative Harold Rogers (R-KY-05), Chair of the House Appropriations committee, to discuss her research and the importance of federal funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF.)

The CNSF is comprised of more than 140 professional organizations, scientific societies, universities and businesses whose common mission is to “support the goal of increasing the national investment in the National Science Foundation's research and education programs in response to the unprecedented scientific, technological and economic opportunities facing the United States.” The Annual Capitol Hill Exhibition & Reception showcases the importance and range of programs and research supported by the NSF to members of Congress and their staff.

On May 12, members of the ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) traveled to Capitol Hill, met with Congressional leaders and staff, discussed FY 2017 appropriations and advocated for passage of the administrations $1.8billion supplemental funding request to address the Zika outbreak.  Ron Atlas, Chair of the Public and Scientific Affairs Board; James Roth, Chair of the PSAB Committee on Agricultural and Food Microbiology; Chuck Rice, Chair of the PSAB Committee on Environmental Microbiology; and Jay Grimes, former chair of the PSAB Committee on Environmental Microbiology met with Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations; and staff in the offices of Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee; and Representative Harold Rogers (R-KY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.  The meetings focused on the importance of adequate federal funding to combat the current Zika outbreak and prepare for other emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.  Also discussed was antimicrobial resistance, funding for agencies of importance to microbiology, specifically the Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and microbiology broadly.

Kathleen Alexander and France A. Córdova, Director National Science Foundation

Alexander and David Visi, ASM Congressional Fellow on the staff of Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY)

Alexander visits the office of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)

Ron Atlas, Jay Grimes, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Chuck Rice in the Senator’s Office​