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DelBene Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging $2 Billion Boost for NIH

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Washington, D.C., December 19, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) led 129 House members in urging the House Appropriations Committee to fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at no less than $36 billion in any forthcoming appropriations legislation. The bipartisan letter was co-led by Reps. David McKinley (WV-01) and Peter King (NY-02).

“Funding helps push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, advance promising research and offer hope to millions of Americans suffering from heartbreaking diseases,” the members wrote. “If we are serious about breaking new ground in our understanding of complex and life-threatening conditions, then it is absolutely essential we increase funding for NIH. Simply put, we cannot hope to accelerate the development of new cures, therapies and vaccines without additional resources for research.”

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved funding increases for NIH in fiscal year 2018. The House bill (H.R.3358) allocates $35.1 billion for NIH, while the Senate bill (S.1771) provides $36 billion for the agency — a $2 billion increase above FY 2017 levels. Neither bill has received a vote on the House floor.

Federal funding for NIH supports more than 400,000 American jobs and generates more than $60 billion in new economic activity. Unfortunately, the federal government’s contributions toward basic research at NIH have consistently failed to keep pace with inflation, allowing the agency’s purchasing power to diminish by nearly 20 percent since 2003.

The letter is signed by 130 Republican and Democratic members of the House. Full text of the letter follows:

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Lowey:

As the House works to craft an end of year spending bill for fiscal year 2018, we write to express our strong support for increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In any forthcoming appropriations legislation for FY 2018, we urge you to work with your Senate colleagues to ensure NIH receives a funding level of no less than $36 billion, equal to the level approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The amount reflects the rising costs of medical research and would maintain America’s role as a global leader in biomedical research and groundbreaking medical discoveries. 

A bipartisan majority of the 115th Congress has already demonstrated its clear support for continuing investments in NIH. This funding helps push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, advance promising research and offer hope to millions of Americans suffering from heartbreaking diseases. Federal funding for this life-saving research is also a key economic driver for our nation, 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.

Congress has increased NIH funding by $2 billion in each of the last two years and now is not the time to slow down. If we are serious about breaking new ground in our understanding of complex and life-threatening conditions, then it is absolutely essential we increase funding for NIH. Simply put, we cannot hope to accelerate the development of new cures, therapies and vaccines without additional resources for research. Particularly given the significant investments in NIH approved earlier this year by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, we feel strongly that now is the time to recommit to America’s long-term health and prosperity.

While we understand the difficult fiscal challenges you face, we hope you will again see the difference between an investment and a cost. NIH is without question an investment in not just medical innovation and economic growth but our nation’s future. We urge you to prioritize the important role NIH plays by funding the agency at a funding level of no less than $36 billion for FY 2018. Thank you for your consideration of this request, which will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Americans.

Sincerely,

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Tags: Health