Wednesday, March 9, 2011

HR1, CR, Members, and the Hill People

Do you like the picture? While trying to remain professional, I could only snap a quickie as we left the House's side to catch a cab to the Senate's turf. I've been to DC more times than I could list, but my West Coast heart still gets a jolt of tourist-excitement whenever I visit.

Wandering around the Rayburn, Cannon, and Hart buildings was pretty sweet. They are definitely nice office buildings, with normal people running about their daily business, with interns and older staffers, with cafeterias and long lunch lines. But then one notices the nameplates...of House Reps, Senators, and committees which determine to a very large part how our country runs, plans, and spends. One sees Charles Rangel and Ron Paul in the sub basement walkway between House buildings. Whoa.

I've never been particularly political, but most researchers in fusion energy (and other mainly government-funded disciplines) have to take an interest. You know, if we want jobs and futures. Whatevs.

It's more than that, though. It's energy independence, global leadership, and a BETTER AMERICA GOSH DARN IT.


So, today was highly educational. I learned the actual budget situation: the proposal which would devastate US fusion research but probably won't pass, the next proposal which is bare-bones what we need and not progressive. The offices we visited agree with and understand our concerns. Hopefully, they can convince their colleagues that while cutting government spending is important, don't do it here!

Sidenote: I met my advisor's grad school officemate and ate delicious frozen yogurt. Not at the same time.


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