Legislative Update: NIH Budget Crisis

Legislative Update – NIH budget crisis:

July 18, 2013

SUMMARY – The Senate Appropriations Committee voted last week to increase NIH research funding as well as funding for the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) and the Office of Science Education (OSE) within NIH. Appropriators in the House have yet to schedule a markup of Health and Human Services spending bill at either the subcommittee or full committee level. Now is the time to contact your Representative in the HOUSE to advocate for robust funding for NIH research and education efforts!

Find your Representative HERE.

See our earlier blog posts for additional contacts and a sample letter urging Congress to preserve health science education!

For more information, visit HERE.

From Research! America:
“The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to increase NIH funding by $307 billion in FY14, an increase largely due to the unwavering support of Labor-HHS subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin and Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski. The Senate bill also increases funding for the CDC by $1.6 billion over FY13. It is important to note that the Senate bill does not include sequestration reductions, but Mikulski has vowed to fight these dangerous, continued cuts. We all realize that these proposed funding levels are not adequate to capitalize on the current opportunity in science and respond robustly to the needs of patients and their families, but they are significantly better than what the House has in store. The overall funding level in the House Labor-HHS bill, which includes NIH, CDC and AHRQ, is 26% less than the Senate’s proposal, leaving the outcome of any kind of budget deal bleak indeed. “Compromise” between the two houses would be significantly worse than a continuing resolution, and sequestration is still in place. In short, the welcome action of the Senate is not likely to become the law of the land. We have work to do!

Americans are taking for granted that policy makers are giving research a high priority, and since policy makers are not hearing from their constituents, they are not thinking twice about cutting research as part of deficit reduction. People are surprised to find out that research isn’t the priority it once was; surprised to learn about cuts that have already occurred; and openly shocked to hear about further cuts being proposed… We must inform Americans and then translate the shock of understanding into advocacy. We have been urging more Americans to speak out via Twitter using the hashtag #curesnotcuts. Please join in.”

Please consider contacting your congressperson to express that funding for biomedical research and health science education is important to you!

The Senate Appropriations Committee recommends that SEPA and the Office of Science Education, which are both within the NIH Office of the Director (OD), be funded in 2014. Here is the language from the Senate Appropriations Committee Report that was released July 11th (p. 103 of report).

“The President’s budget recommends eliminating the Science Education and Partnership Awards [SEPA] program within OD and consolidating it within the Education Department as part of a governmentwide reorganization of STEM education activities. The proposed consolidation would also affect the Office of Science Education within OD and several other smaller STEM programs throughout NIH. The Committee is not convinced that the quality of these programs would be maintained if they were moved to other Federal agencies. Therefore, the Committee directs NIH to continue funding these programs in fiscal year 2014. The Committee includes sufficient funding within OD to support SEPA and the Office of Science Education.”