IEEE-USA’s annual Congressional Visits Day (CVD) has been set for 25-26 April in Washington, D.C.
CVD provides IEEE members a chance to meet with their members of Congress on Capitol Hill. All IEEE members in the United States are invited to attend – no experience necessary!
Volunteers will gather in Washington, D.C., on 25 April at IEEE-USA’s office for training. Led by IEEE-USA's professional government relations staff, participants will spend the morning learning what to expect on Capitol Hill and about IEEE-USA’s agenda with Congress. Attendees will leave this training confident in their ability to speak with and influence their legislators.
That afternoon, IEEE members will join engineers, mathematicians, scientists and other professionals from nearly two dozen national and international associations on Capitol Hill for a comprehensive briefing on engineering and science public policy issues, as well as the general state of STEM legislation in Congress.
The day will end with a reception for legislative staff and Members of Congress in the Senate Office Buildings, honoring some of our best supporters in Congress. This is an excellent opportunity to build relationships with your legislators and staff, as well as with colleagues from across the STEM fields.
Then on Wednesday, 26 April, everyone heads to the Hill.
IEEE-USA will help participants secure appointments with both of their Senators and their Representative, or their staff. These meetings will be held in the legislators’ private offices on Capitol Hill, and will give CVD attendees an ideal opportunity to discuss issues directly with decision-makers.
Former legislators have confirmed, in academic studies and anecdotally, that the most powerful way to deliver a message to a policy-maker is for a voter to deliver that message in person. Politicians respond best to face-to-face communication. They also respond best to their own voters, especially when those voters are willing to travel all the way to Washington to deliver their message.
And 2017 is an especially important year for us to talk to Congress. The 115th Congress began on 3 January, and our 45th President was sworn in on 20 January. The beginning of a new administration is always a time of transition, and this year, with this President, is more so than most. Neither President Trump nor Congress has set their agenda for the year yet. Everything is still on the table, which makes it essential for IEEE members to communicate your concerns to them now.
CVD's focus is on federal funding for engineering and basic research. While funding for agencies like the NSF, NIST and the DOE’s Office of Science is broadly popular, so is balancing the budget. Congress is facing intense pressure on Congress to reduce federal spending. Federal research programs make very attractive targets for budget reductions because the pain of these cuts won’t be felt for years, and because few members of the American public know much about them. At least, that’s what Congress thinks.
Our job on 26 April will be to convince your legislators that voters in your home town care about federal funding for basic research. All you have to do to convey this message – and convey it in the most politically powerful way possible – is attend.
CVD is open to all IEEE members in the United States, including students, non-Americans and members who have never spoken to a politician before in their lives. We need everyone.
To learn more about CVD, and to register, please go to http://www.ieeeusa.org/policy/cvd.
If you have questions about CVD, please contact IEEE-USA staffer Russ Harrison at email@example.com.