Congress, Lobbying

Tweeting a solution to sequestration? Probably not.

With just two weeks before the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration are now scheduled to take effect (two months later than originally planned), organizations concerned about what those cuts could do to various agencies are stepping up their outreach and lobbying. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is urging its members to reach out to its members today—via Twitter, oddly enough.

“The AAS asks all members to take a moment today to contact their members of Congress,” the organization notes in a blog post. AAS is part of a 3,200-member coalition of organizations called NDD United that is seeking to avoid the cuts sequestration would impose on non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending. Interestingly, the post emphasizes outreach using Twitter, offering sample tweets people can use, pasting in the Twitter handle of their senator or representative. (One sample: “Remember [insert member twitter handle], over 3200 groups want you to say #NoMoreCuts to discretionary investments! #sequester”)

It’s not clear, though, that outreach via Twitter will have much influence on members, given it, like email, is so easy to use and abuse. The post, in fact, notes that “email is not an efficient way of communicating with Congress” and recommends that AAS members that don’t use Twitter to use phone, fax, or letters instead. Tweeting can’t hurt, but it may not help much, either, and space advocates seeking to stop sequestration should only begin, and not end, their efforts with a 140-character plea.

8 comments to Tweeting a solution to sequestration? Probably not.

  • amightywind

    I have sent a letter asking my Congresswoman, Michelle Bachmann, to hold fast and allow the cuts to happen. I hope you send the same message to your representative. The astronomy community (and others) will necessarily contract. They have defied gravity and enjoyed lavish growth funding these last 5 years while recession has raged outside of their ivory tower. Time to get real. Federal spending at 25% of GDP cannot continue. Even Ghenghis Khan only demanded 10% of the conquered.

  • Dark Blue Nine

    Likely sequestration impacts for NASA are out:

    Looks like they’re taking nearly all of the hit to the Exploration account out of commercial crew, which would keep its funding level at about $4-500 million, instead of ramping up to ~$850 million as the White House requested.

    The only impact to SLS/MPCV is in the Construction of Facilities Account. It’s some fraction of nearly $230 million. Will be interesting to see how SLS launches on schedule without a pad.

    Overall, I’m surprised the agency and White House didn’t pursue more of a “Washington Monument” strategy and predict more hits out of congressional priorities like SLS/MPCV and JWST, even if that’s where they wouldn’t be taken in the end.

    • common sense

      “Looks like they’re taking nearly all of the hit to the Exploration account out of commercial crew”

      Because they are the weakest, least supported group. It does not matter if they are the most promising. If they were to say they will cut SLS/MPCV most centers would take a hit, most contractors and NASA will not risk losing supporters in Congress.

      Who is supporting commercial crew? WHO? How many voters do they represent?

      The good thing though is that commercial will still probably make it (esp. SpaceX if they don’t f. up) and in the end the whole NASA HSF will go irrelevant while trying to assemble an SLS with a boiler plate MPCV to launch from an inexistent pad and all the while having commercials launch crew to space.

      The WH is probably tired with the NASA management supporting SLS/MPCV no matter what. So they are probably giving in. Why would they not? Those guys have resisted all they could. Good luck attracting any political move from the WH from now on.

      Just watch.

  • James

    As I predicted in an earlier post, SMD skates by w/o canceling anything in the later phases of development. Reductions in costs for new Explorers and Earth Ventures translates to delaying upcoming AO’s, and probably delaying the start of the almost selected Explorer missions that recently completed their oral presentations. Reductions in R&A’s was also expected.

    Of note is, that for the most part, these are programs where the impacted (University crowd, s/c industry) have access to lobbyists and the like ; so this may be an attempt to stir that particular communities pot to generate some anti sequestration lobbying effort.

    Ditto theory for cuts to Commercial Crew and Space Technology cuts.

    Anyone have a guess as to whether sequestration (so close to castration, isn’t’ it!) will actually happen?

    • Robert G. Oler

      The politics are trending to sequestration right now…the GOP is landlocked with its more extreme voters and Dems see this as a winning political “thing”…ie the GOP will get blamed for it. RGO

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