APS Action Center

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Congressional Visit Days

Advocacy Wins in 2021

NSF for the Future Community Sign-On Letter

>1,650 advocates (5/21)

APS led a multi- science-society effort to garner broad community support of the NSF for the Future Act. The legislation aims to accelerate American innovation by expanding NSF’s use-inspired research and strengthening NSF’s curiosity-driven fundamental research programs. The reauthorization bill also includes provisions to address a number of APS’s policy priorities, including broadening participation in STEM. The community sign-on letter launched by APS gathered more than 1,650 signatures of members of the scientific community. The House Science Committee posted the letter to its support page for the bill and shared it with the Speaker of the House’s legislative team.

APS Key Policy Priorities Passed in the House

293 advocates in 2021 (5/21)

Several pieces of legislation addressing some of APS’s key policy priorities passed out of the House under the suspension calendar in May, including the Supporting Early-Career Researchers Act, the STEM Opportunities Act, the MSI STEM Achievement Act, and the Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act. APS members have been active on these issues for several years, and contacted Congress through email, calls, and social media 818 times in 2021 alone. Their work in moving the ball down the field was invaluable in ensuring the passage of these important pieces of legislation.

Resolutions to Reverse Rollback of Methane Emissions Regulations Passed

797 advocates (6/21)

Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) recently introduced a pair of resolutions of disapproval in the House and Senate, using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to reverse the rollback of regulations for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry during the Trump Administration. APS members contacted Congress nearly 2,300 times via email, phone calls, and social media in 2021, a massive showing of support. The bill passed through the Senate on April 28th and the House on June 25th and is expected to be signed into law by President Biden soon, restoring Obama-era methane regulations.

UPDATE: Fixed Duration for International Student Campaign

See 2020 Wins section for more details

1,562 advocates (10/20-7/21)

On July 6, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security withdrew the notice of proposed rulemaking to eliminate the current “duration of status” guidelines that allow international students who study in the US on certain visas — such as F and J visas — to remain in the country for as long as they maintain compliance with their terms of admission. In response, APS leadership submitted a comment in strong opposition to the proposed rule change, and APS Government Affairs enabled members to contribute original comments in opposition, as well. This outcome is a major win for the academic and international student communities and is a testament to the advocacy of almost 1,600 APS members, who were responsible for approximately 1 in every 20 comments submitted concerning the proposed rule in 2020.


APS Advocacy in Action

Actions Taken in 2021

>4,000

Advocacy Wins in 2020

Fixed Duration for International Student Campaign

1,562 advocates (10/20)

The Department of Homeland Security recently proposed a rule change to eliminate the current “duration of status” guidelines that allow international students who study in the US on certain visas — such as F and J visas — to remain in the country for as long as they maintain compliance with their terms of admission. In addition to APS’s comment, APS OGA provided APS members a platform to submit their own unique comments to DHS in an effort to delay implementation until additional action could be taken. We gathered 1,562 comments - this totaled to ~1 in 20 comments in the final batch being from APS members!

ICE Rule Call Campaign

260 advocates (7/20)

On July 6th, ICE announced a rule change that threatened many international students on M-1 and F-1 visas with deportation if, due to the pandemic, they were only studying off-campus or online. Two days later, on July 8th, the APS Presidential Line sent out a membership-wide statement condemning the rule change and launching a campaign for members to take action. This campaign allowed members to call their legislators and urge them to do all they could to push back against this rule change. In only three days, 260 legislators were contacted by APS members who spent a total of almost 7 hours on the phone. Because of the pressure and public outcry from many organizations and individuals - including APS and our members - the rule was ultimately reversed.

J-1/OPT Personal Letters & New Report

120 advocates (7-10/20)

The APS Office of Government Affairs put out a call to members asking them to share their stories about the importance of J-1 visas and Optional Practical Training, or OPT, so that we could share them with APS contacts at the US State Department. APS received more than 100 personal letters from APS members ranging from students and early career physicists to professors and a Nobel laureate. The letters were the basis of a brand new report on the importance of international students and scholars to the US that shared with policymakers and their staff, including our contacts at the State Department.

RISE Act Campaign

>1,000 advocates (6-9/20)

The RISE Act would authorize $26 billion in supplemental funding to provide federal science agencies relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through multiple campaigns across three months, including one in conjunction with 22 other scientific societies, APS members connected with legislators through phone, email, and social media more than 3,100 times!

Protect OPT Senate Campaign

3,005 advocates (06/20)

Advocates encouraged their Senators to join with their House colleagues in supporting optional practical training (OPT) and urging the Trump Administration not to suspend the program. Through this campaign, over 6,000 letters were sent to Congress by APS members. Ultimately, OPT was not included in the Executive Order in which it was initially rumored to be suspended.

OPT Dear Colleague Letter

543 advocates (05/20)

Advocates urged Republican legislators to sign on to a “Dear Colleague” letter from Rep. Steve Stiver’s (OH-15) in support of protecting optional practical training (OPT) programs in the U.S. Through this campaign, nearly 550 letters were sent to Congress by APS members. 12 members of the House who had been contacted by our advocates signed on to the letter that was delivered to the Administration.

COVID-19 APS Action

998 advocates (04/20)

Advocates encouraged their legislators to read and follow the recommendations laid out by APS President Phil Bucksbaum regarding the scientific community’s recovery from COVID-19. Through this campaign, nearly 3,000 letters were sent to Congress by APS members.

FGSA Action Regarding COVID-19

78 advocates (03/20)

Advocates urged legislators to take action in supporting graduate students during the COVID-19 crisis. Through this campaign, more than 200 letters were sent to Congress and NSF, along with other federal agencies, committed to ensuring that graduate students paid through federal grants could continue to be supported financially during the pandemic.


APS Advocacy in Action

Actions Taken in 2020

>18,000