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DelBene, King Lead Bipartisan Letter Rejecting Cuts to Medical Research

More than 85 House members signed the bipartisan letter urging congressional leaders to reject cuts to medical research costs.

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Washington, September 22, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Congressman Peter King (NY-02) today led more than 85 bipartisan members of Congress in urging House leaders to protect medical research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The President’s budget proposed cutting the agency by $7.2 billion next year, primarily through a harmful limitation on facilities and administrative (F&A) costs – also known as indirect costs – in NIH-funded research.

“To maintain America’s role as a global leader in innovation and groundbreaking medical discoveries, we respectfully request that you continue NIH’s support for facilities and administrative (F&A) research costs,” the letter stated. “Maintaining federal support for F&A research costs is vitally important to our nation’s health and our medical innovation capacity in the 21st century. Simply put, scientists cannot conduct research for the federal government without incurring these costs.”

Federal support for F&A helps cover critical components of doing research — such as hazardous waste disposal, proper and secure storage of dangerous pathogens, maintenance of high-tech labs and essential personnel. This support is particularly critical as scientists pursue cutting-edge innovations in precision medicine, immunotherapy and genomics.

In June, DelBene sent a letter urging the House Appropriations Committee to adopt language prohibiting the administration from moving forward with plans to limit federal support for F&A costs. Similar language has been included in bills approved by the House (H.R. 3358) and the Senate Appropriations Committee (S. 1771), as well as the recently enacted short-term continuing resolution (CR), but must now be extended before the CR expires on Dec. 8.

DelBene and King’s letter was signed by 86 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and was endorsed by the following organizations: Academy of Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research; American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; American Society of Clinical Oncology; Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI); Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC); Association of American Universities; Association of Independent Research Institutes; Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU); Coalition for Life Sciences; Council on Governmental Relations; and the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Full text of the letter follows:

Dear Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi:

As the House works to enact further appropriations legislation for FY 2018, we urge you to strengthen and protect medical research funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). To maintain America’s role as a global leader in innovation and groundbreaking medical discoveries, we respectfully request that you continue NIH’s support for facilities and administrative (F&A) research costs in any further appropriations bill enacted for FY 2018.

On a bipartisan basis, members of Congress have repeatedly demonstrated our clear and unambiguous support for NIH-funded medical research. We know these investments help us push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, advance promising research and offer hope to millions of Americans who are suffering. Funding for this life-saving work is also a key economic driver, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and generating over $60 billion in new economic activity. It delivers a significant return on our investment today and for generations to come.

For all these reasons, Congress has collectively dedicated $4 billion in additional resources for NIH-funded research in the last few years, including as recently as April, when the President signed an omnibus appropriations bill that provided another significant boost in the agency’s funding. Now is not the time to undermine this momentum. Particularly as scientists pursue cutting-edge innovations in precision medicine, immunotherapy and genomics, we should not be taking steps that could severely hamper medical research across the country.

Maintaining federal support for F&A research costs is vitally important to our nation’s health and our medical innovation capacity in the 21st century. Simply put, scientists cannot conduct research for the federal government without incurring these costs. Support for F&A helps cover critical components of doing research — such as hazardous waste disposal, proper and secure storage of dangerous pathogens, maintenance of high-tech labs and essential personnel. That’s why we welcomed provisions in both the House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bills for FY 2018, as well as the short-term continuing resolution enacted earlier this month, to preserve NIH’s support for these essential research costs. We strongly support the retention of this language in any further appropriations bill enacted for FY 2018. Accelerating the development of new cures, therapies and vaccines demands that we continue to support vital research costs like these.

While we understand the difficult fiscal challenges you face, we urge you to prioritize the important role NIH plays in medical innovation and economic growth by protecting and strengthening federally funded research in FY 2018. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

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Tags: Health