Signal Boost: June 2018

Signal Boost: June 2018
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    We're back with Signal Boost, I'm Greg Mack from the APS Office of Government Affairs.
    The Appropriations process for the Fiscal Year 2019 budget keeps moving forward.
    Last time, I told you that the House proposed to increase both NSF and the DOE Office of
    Science by 5%.
    Well, the numbers are now out for the Senate.
    It wants to increase NSF by 4% and the DOE Office of Science by 6%.
    This is all good news!
    Now, regarding NIST Science, the House is asking for a 1% cut, but the Senate would
    like to fund it at the same level as last year.
    Next up, the House and Senate have to negotiate.
    So, what's our advocacy strategy for all these numbers?
    APS encourages you to advocate for whichever number is higher.
    That means 5% for NSF, and 6% for DOE office of Science.
    For NIST, the higher proposal is the one that keeps it the same as last year.
    Now, APS does support the bipartisan proposal of Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and Senator
    Gary Peters of Michigan which would increase NIST by 4%.
    But, based on the current bills, that request may not have a political path forward.
    Numbers are starting to come out for education funding, too.
    I'll remind you that APS is focused on the Every Student Succeeds Act.
    Title II-A deals with teacher preparation, and IV-A and B deal with informal and after-school
    The House proposal appears to fund II-A, IV-A, and IV-B at the same high levels as last year,
    which is great news.
    You might remember that there was a negotiation between the House and Senate last year.
    The House wanted to slash funding for these titles following the lead of the White House's
    request, but the Senate wanted to strongly support them.
    Thankfully, with the help of APS member advocacy, the Senate won out.
    This time, it's great to see the House valuing these titles from the beginning!
    Speaking of advocacy, APS members have been at it again!
    Sixteen physics department chairs from across the country met with Congressional offices
    on June 7th.
    These volunteers were broken into seven groups and spent their day on the Hill. Then,
    they joined the rest of their colleagues at the 2018 Physics Department Chairs Conference.
    They were able to speak about science funding and education from the unique perspective
    of a physics department chair, bringing personal stories of how these issues impact their department,
    faculty, students, and university.
    A number of them were able to share these stories with Members of Congress themselves.
    So, what did they talk about?
    Funding for NSF, the DOE office of Science, and NIST;
    Funding for the Every Student Succeeds Act;
    Speaking out against the loan provisions in the PROSPER Act that would increase student debt;
    and addressing the decline APS has observed in international students applying to US Physics
    PhD programs.
    Now, this last issue gets at a bigger concern for international students.
    While the larger discussion of immigration is going on with many different parts, we
    don't want their issues to be forgotten.
    APS is asking Congress to change the F-1 Visa – the visa most international students get
    to come to the US to study – to allow a path to citizenship.
    This would apply for undergrads as well as grad students.
    By having this mechanism, we can continue to attract students to come to the US to study
    AND enable them to stay once they are done!
    Right now they must provide proof that they will leave the country in a very short time
    after they graduate.
    I'll keep you informed as APS continues to explore this immigration issue, but one
    thing I'll do right now is remind you of the Advocacy Dashboard.
    You can take action from the comfort of your computer or mobile device on most of these
    issues, including this visa issue.
    Stay tuned for more next time in the July Signal Boost.
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