Archive for NIH Budget

FY18 Budget Plan

The current administration has released the outline of its FY18 budget plan, which, for starters, guts the NIH with a $5.8B cut (19%+ cut of current appropriation), eliminates the Fogarty International Center, and moves the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) into the NIH.

Congress will have plenty to say about this, but you can help them push back on this budget plan by communicating to your Congressional delegation (FASEB makes finding and contacting your elected officials easy) the impact of research dollars in their district, specifically your own research – both the economic impact and the current and potential impact of discoveries already made and being pursued.

Be sure to convey what you would not be able to accomplish – what you would have to give up, in terms of aims pursued – following a ~20% cut to your current grant award(s) (yes, those of you with existing awards would face significant cuts to your noncompeting renewals). Scientific organizations and universities will cover the stark big-picture impact of such draconian cuts – your personal voices are also important.

More broadly, please also consider taking a little time to convey the impact of your and other biomedical research locally through newspapers, radio shows, and social media. The more we raise awareness of the real-world, daily-life impact of science, the more voices (and votes) we’ll have telling Congress to preserve federal investment in research.

In the meantime, FY17 will at best simply maintain current appropriation levels under the continuing resolution (due to expire on April 28 but likely to be continued, at least temporarily). However, the mere specter of such an enormous cut on the horizon, even if (when) the size of the cut is dropped, means that ICs could be nervous about committing to large long-term expenditures this year, so paylines could remain conservative, with lots of internal discussion about funding decisions.

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Stop the Sequester (and other budget news)

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 otherwissequestere). 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.

Something else to keep an eye on will be the 21st Century Cures Act. FASEB can also help you keep an eye on the fine print of this bill.

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