> TE home
about TE
> contact us
> editorial info
> e-mail update
short circuits
> engineering history:
John Stone Stone
> world bytes:
Always Keep Trying
keyword search
(e.g., author name, title)
career resources
> career navigator
> ieee-usa salary service
> ieee job site
> ieee spectrum careers
public policy resources
> IEEE-USA Policy Forum
> Legislative Action Center


May 2006

Pennsylvania IEEE members (l to r), Michael Oliver, Jay Greenburg, Sedofia Gedzah, Li Bai, and David Vaglia, with Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (third from right).

CVD 2006 Wrap-up

By Bill Williams

More than forty U.S. IEEE members joined over 300 engineers and scientists to participate in the eleventh annual Science-Engineering-Technology (SET) Congressional Visits Day (CVD), held 28-29 March in Washington, D.C. The IEEE was among the 42 organizations represented at the two-day event that brings scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, and technology executives to Washington to raise visibility and support for science, engineering and technology through in-person visits with members of Congress.

This year's visits focused on the need for more federal funding for research in the physical sciences and engineering; improved science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education; and increased funding for federal engineering and science agencies. Participants also stressed support for congressional and administration initiatives designed to promote America's competitiveness and innovation. Spurred by high-profile reports from the National Academies and the Council on Competitiveness warning of America's waning global leadership in science and technology, several bills have been introduced in the Senate and in the House of Representatives aimed at bolstering America's competitive edge through enhanced engineering, science and mathematics education; and promoting science and technology research and development.

On day one, IEEE-USA staff provided a briefing for IEEE volunteers from across the nation on the issues and how to conduct a proper visit with members of Congress. Russell Lefevre, IEEE-USA's vice president for technology policy activities, shared advice from his experience on Capitol Hill as an aid for Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-W.V.) through the IEEE-USA Congressional Fellows program.

Following the briefing, the IEEE-USA delegation joined other CVD participants at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) auditorium, where they heard from congressional and administration insiders on the federal budget process, including an overview of the president's FY 2007 budget request from AAAS' budget expert, Joanne Carney. The group also heard from representatives inside the federal agencies directly affected by government R&D funding, including Richard O. Buckius, acting assistant director for engineering, National Science Foundation (NSF), and William Jeffrey, Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

That evening, CVD participants attended a reception at the Capitol Hill Club, where they met and mingled with members of Congress and their staff. The presentation of the George E. Brown Jr. Science, Engineering and Technology  (SET) Award to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce, highlighted the evening. The award is presented annually by the SET Work Group to members of Congress who are effective advocates for federal investment in science, engineering and technology. The award is named for the late Rep. George E. Brown Jr. (D-Calif.), who made outstanding contributions to federal support in these areas over a long and distinguished career in Congress. Rep. Brown chaired the House Science Committee for two terms (One Hundred and Second and One Hundred and Third Congresses).

Rep. Wolf was commended for his "longstanding commitment and support of science, engineering and technology" benefiting the nation, and his recognition and promotion of a vital federal R&D enterprise at all levels.

The volunteers' second day began with a breakfast highlighted by talks from Representatives Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) and John Culberson (R-Texas), who addressed both the need for increased and balanced federal investment in research and development, and the importance of R&D to securing the nation's economic future. From there, members fanned out to the offices of their respective members of Congress to spread the word.

IEEE member Jay Greenberg, from Eddystone, Pa., remarked that, "CVD 2006 was an excellent opportunity to work with engineers and scientists from around the country on political issues that are important to our community." According to Greenberg, "Our meetings on Capitol Hill with Pennsylvania's legislators have brought attention to science, engineering, technology, economic and educational issues that will benefit all citizens of the United States."

Lefevre added, "This year's CVD has been one of the most successful in our history. Our volunteers report high interest by members of Congress on issues related to the President's American Competitiveness Initiative. We anticipate strong support for legislation that will be very important to our members."

To view pictures of CVD 2006, visit: www.ieeeusa.org/policy/cvd/2006/.




Bill Williams is IEEE-USA's legislative representative for technology policy activities. Comments may be submitted to todaysengineer@ieee.org.

Copyright © 2007 IEEE