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