8 May 2017

AAS Action Alert: Support for NSF

Heather Bloemhard Vanderbilt University

Contact your senators and ask them to sign onto a "Dear Colleague Letter" to show their support for robust funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF).


This Action Alert requests that AAS members email or call their senators by 11 May 2017 to ask that they support increased funding for NSF in FY 2018 by signing onto a "Dear Colleague Letter."

Instructions on whom to contact and how to do so are provided below. We've assembled sample communication templates, as well.


The Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee is responsible for funding NSF (along with NASA and the Commerce and Justice Departments). The subcommittee is beginning to plan for the FY 2018 appropriations process. Dear Colleague Letters are an opportunity for members not on the subcommittee to express their opinions. Senator Markey (D-MA) is leading a "Dear Colleague Letter" that will be sent to the subcommittee. This letter expresses support for funding NSF at $8 billion in FY 2018 and conveys the importance of the work that NSF funds.

Please consider contacting your senators as soon as possible and certainly before 11 May, which is the deadline for senators to sign on. If you do contact your senator, we encourage you to convey your support for NSF, and the important role it plays in your science.

What to Do

Links to template emails for you to customize and send to your senator using his or her contact form are below.

  1. Find your senators' contact information.
  2. Check if your senator signed last year's version of the letter, then edit the email or call scripts accordingly.
  3. Either…
    • customize the sample emails provided and submit via the contact forms, or
    • customize the relevant sample phone script and call each of your representatives using the phone numbers listed.

It is crucial that you customize your message. According to the Congress Foundation’s 2017 study on how Congress members respond to communications, individualized messages and phone calls are about an order of magnitude more influential than form emails (refer to their fig. 1).

You may also wish to tweet to your senator. Generally, members will have links on their websites if they are active on Twitter.

Thank you for your time.