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APA Member Targeted by Congress Showcases Research on Capitol Hill
By Heather O'Beirne Kelly
On June 26, APA’s Science Government Relations Office brought in Hillary Anger Elfenbein (Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley) to present her National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported research on Capitol Hill. The event was the 13th annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) exhibit and reception for members of Congress and their staff, and APA chose Elfenbein as our exhibitor this year to showcase her stellar research on cross-cultural expressions and understanding of emotion. Elfenbein was one of nine scientists (including two psychologists) whose peer-reviewed, funded NSF research projects were targeted for “de-funding” by two Republicans in May as the House debated the NSF reauthorization bill. Thanks to strong advocacy from APA’s Science Government Relations staff, APA members, and a host of other scientific organizations and individual scientists, both amendments were defeated on the House floor.
Before the reception, Elfenbein had a chance to thank Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) personally for his support and management of the House floor debate from the Democratic majority. Baird, a psychologist and Chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Science Education, engineered a brilliant defense of peer review and the individual scientists involved. Elfenbein also met with staffers from her home district, represented by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), and she discussed her research with the Director of NSF (Arden Bement, PhD), the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (Thomas Insel, MD) and a number of members of Congress who stopped by the exhibit, including Reps.: Lois Capps (D-CA), William Clay, Jr. (D-MO), Bob Etheridge (D-NC) and Patrick Kennedy (D-RI).