It seems obvious that the first step to increasing the federal budget for scientific research is the removal of the sequester (the figure shows what budget cuts lie ahead otherwise). In fact, so obvious, it goes without saying.
Except it doesn’t.
My Congress person recently pointed out he and his colleagues who are fighting for more funding for the NIH and other agencies must first convince their Republican colleagues to end sequestration … but this is difficult to do in the absence of constituent requests for its removal.
My simple request is that all those hoping for higher appropriations for the NIH, the NSF, and other agencies that fund scientific research contact their Congressional delegation to request that they work for the removal of the sequester imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011.
FASEB makes this easy at their Legislative Action Center (look up & contact your officials).
In the meantime, some Republicans are discussing raising the NIH budget to $40 or even $60 billion … but whether they can come up with the magic to merge these increases with tax cuts and increased defense spending is another matter. Based on the experience of the first doubling, a better strategy might be to raise the appropriation to where it should have been without the intervening flat-line years and budget cut in FY13 and then codifying a sustained increase – possibly even multiyear budgets for better planning. A pipe dream, perhaps, but at least the discussion is being held.