Spoonful of Medicine has an excellent Q&A with John Porter, a former Republican representative from Illinois and chairman of Research!America, discussing why it's important to leave research funding off the chopping block.
The Q&A is worth reading and touches on how Porter was successful during the 1995 budget talks in persuading Republican leadership to not only protect funding for the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but increase spending for these agencies. But perhaps the most important portion of the interview is Porter's advice on how the scientific community can protect funding for biomedical research:
The very best thing people can do in the research community is to get their member of Congress into their laboratory to see what they’re doing, because once they connect how the research can make a difference in human health, they’ll be invested in it. Take a patient advocate with you - somebody who’s suffered from the disease you’re working on - and have them all meet together. I think that would make more of a difference than anything else. If you can’t do that, you can at least send an email or write an op-ed. Then I’d say get involved in the political campaigns and support the candidates who support the things that you believe in. Medical researchers are still citizens of this country like everyone else and have the same responsibilities. Go to the candidates’ debate, raise the questions, make them accountable, make them understand the importance of medical research. It can’t be done by people in Washington alone. They can do something but it’s the folks back home that matter in America.