I’m excited to be the new Bahcall Public Policy Fellow at the AAS! I just started last week – I was previously at NASA Goddard as the Lead for Education and Public Outreach in the Astrophysics Division. It’s a great time to be working on policy issues for the AAS and I look forward to working on behalf of the astronomy community for the next two years.
Congress is consumed with the health care debate right now, followed closely by the war in Afghanistan. Its going to be a little while before funding for astronomy is on Congress’s agenda. But – President Obama just made a speech last week on Innovation and Sustainable Growth last week where he specifically called out the importance of investing in basic research. You can see the full text of his speech here. You can also download the 22-page document by the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy titled “A Strategy for American Innovation: Driving Towards Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs.”
In other news, Congress held several hearings in September on the Augustine Commission’s report reviewing NASA’s manned space flight program. It appears that there is no debate about the merits of a manned space flight program, discussions are instead focused on how to accomplish it. You can find the summary of the report here. We will have to wait and see what the implications of this report will be on science funding for NASA in the FY2010 budget. Stay tuned!
Finally – drop me a line if you have thoughts or comments on the AAS policy blog. Our goal is to keep you informed about what’s going on in Washington that could affect astro policy. I’d love to know how we’re doing!