My inner libertarian takes a backseat to my outer scientist. If anyone is willing to propose a model of funding research that doesn’t require the federal government that is feasible, I’m all ears. Until then, I can justify my egregious begging thus: I am currently working on a computer that was built in 1998, for crying out loud. We’re almost to the point where we’re recycling ethanol at the lab! This is money better spent on research rather than bank bailouts. The first paragraph is mine, the rest is for members of the Society for Neuroscience.

Mr Culberson,

I know that after years of irresponsible spending at the federal level, it is tempting to tighten the belt on things like the NIH budget. Please consider that the NIH budget has remained flat for the last 6 years. As a republican, I remember the initiative taken by the GOP in 1998 under Newt Gingrich to double NIH funding. This spending is not a “bridge to nowhere” such as the one in Alaska, as it provides tangible benefits and a profitable ROI for our nation and the world. Also, and perhaps more germane, it benefits the Baylor College of Medicine where I and many of my colleagues are employed. The medical center is the largest source of employment for the city of Houston, a fact you should consider when reading this letter and voting on NIH funding.

As a constituent and a member of the Society for Neuroscience, I urge you to sign a letter being circulated by Representatives Edward Markey (D-MA), David Reichert (R-WA), and others, to Appropriations Chair David Obey (D-WI) and Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-CA) that requests an increase for the NIH of $1.9 billion or 6.5 percent in FY2009. NIH is the world’s leading medical research enterprise, and without strong Congressional support it will not be able to sustain the pace of recent discoveries that are saving lives, improving health and promoting economic development in your district and across the nation.

With over 38,000 members, SfN is the world’s largest organization of basic scientists and physicians who study the brain and nervous system. Neuroscience includes the study of brain development, sensation and perception, learning and memory, movement, sleep, stress, aging, and neurological and psychiatric disorders. It also includes study of the molecules, cells, and genes responsible for nervous system functioning.

I urge you to help ensure that NIH has sufficient funding to help solve the many public health challenges in our nation by signing this letter. To sign on, please contact Josh Lumbley in Rep. Markey’s office at <joshua.lumbley@mail.house.gov> or (202) 225-2836, or Jason Edgar in Rep. Reichert’s office <jason.edgar@mail.house.gov> or (202) 225-7761.

Thank you in advance for your support.

An open letter to John Culberson
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