Request a Meeting with Your Lawmakers in Washington D.C.

AIMBE makes it easy to request a Congressional appointment. Enter your name, address, email and zip code to access the draft meeting request email. Only you can request an appointment and this app makes it easy. Your Member of Congress and two Senators will be identified. The message requesting the meeting is simple and straightforward. Please edit the draft meeting invitation and send your message.

Congressional staff will contact you directly regarding your meeting that may be with the Member of Congress or their staff. Remember, meetings with staff are nearly as valuable as with the elected official so please confirm all appointments that are offered.

Washington DC Meeting Request

This is your letter to your Members of Congress. You will be able to change the text once you click “Proceed.”

As your constituent, I am writing to request an appointment to visit with you on INSERT DATE HERE while I am in Washington, D.C.

I would like to visit with you regarding federal investments in medical research. I know your schedule is challenging, and I am willing to arrange my schedule to meet with you briefly even if it is in the hall outside a congressional hearing room.

I look forward to your response and the opportunity to briefly visit with you.

Talking Points

How you introduce yourself to a lawmaker or their staff will set the stage for an effective visit. Here are the basics:

  1. Name, town, and years you’ve lived in district
  2. Occupation, what you do
  3. You are representing the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering as an elected Fellow of the Institute
  4. What are you asking them to consider (for example, providing long-term, consistent funding for NIH, NSF, DARPA that keeps up with biomedical inflation)
  5. Why should someone care about this topic and how does it relate to your research?

Next, share your story and connect it to the local community through your affiliation to a college, university, or local business. Stay focused on the core goals of your conversation and avoid off-topic or hot button issues like the Affordable Care Act. Provide a show-and-tell object but avoid a slideshow presentation. Your meeting will last no longer than 30 minutes, so be concise.

Last, but not least, volunteer to be a local resource. Legislators often set up advisory panels consisting of local experts to provide them with the “local view” on major policy issues. By volunteering to serve on these advisory groups, you will be in a central position to provide input.

Keep in Mind

Staff are Powerful

Never underestimate the influence of Congressional staffers. They are often young, but they have the ear of the Member of Congress. Additionally, don’t assume they understand biomedical research or the connection between research, innovation, jobs, and health and well-being.

Keep it Simple

Lawmakers and staff schedule dozens of meetings a day. If you focus your visit on statistics, it will be quickly forgotten. Paint a picture and they will remember it. Make it personal about how research saved a specific life or provide a personal antidote. Forget the facts and numbers – speak from your heart.

Avoid Partisanship

Keep complicated policy discussions out of the conversation. Don’t try to figure out how to balance the budget or come up with bipartisan solutions. Stick to your message and talking points.

Political Context

  • Budget cuts (and spending caps) are killing America’s leadership in innovation and discovery.
  • Agencies including NIH, NSF, NIST, and other critical federal R&D initiatives are hurt when spending is cut or when spending doesn’t meet inflation
  • Thank you for a strong increase ($3 billion) to NIH in FY18 and NY19. However, NIH buying power remains nearly 20% below a decade ago. Federal R&D as a percentage of GDP is at the lowest point since 1976. Today we spend $25 federal dollars on health care for sick Americans for every $1 spent on research to find a cure.
  • Research needs stable funding– not up-and-down, on-again, off-again. Uncertainty of funding hurts sustained, level-funding needs for research. AIMBE supports a $2 billion increase for NIH in FY20.