Dear Research Advocate,
“Shell-shocked” is a fair way to describe reaction to the latest appropriations bill in which the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies subcommittee released its funding recommendations. The NIH was flat-funded and seriously micromanaged in unprecedented ways, CDC funding was cut deeply, and funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was terminated. See our press statement on the bill here and the Nature article that included our quote. The Science Insider article also has details.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, an amendment to the subcommittee bill would have slashed another $8.3 billion – fortunately this was defeated, but there is room for more trouble, especially if stakeholders are quiet. The bill is scheduled for a vote in the full Appropriations Committee next week, and while unlikely to receive a final vote in the House until after the elections, the precedent set and message sent by the House bill is a dangerous one.
Don’t delay; send a message to your representatives reminding them that NIH, CDC and AHRQ are not afterthought agencies. They are vital for protecting Americans, fighting disease and powering job creation. I’ve asked in past that you pen an op-ed or letter to the editor. If you haven’t already, now is the time. We’ll help.
Today, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) held a meeting to highlight its finding that other countries offer stronger R&D tax incentives than those offered by the United States. In fact, the U.S. ranks 27th compared to competing countries. Pragmatism dictates that our nation takes steps to change the downward-trending trajectory. We cannot under-incent private sector R&D and expect the U.S. to remain the world’s leading innovator. You simply can’t get there from here.
On July 25th at 3 p.m., we’ll be holding a members-only conference call with Research!America Chair John Porter to discuss the recent markup and the outlook for research funding as appropriations decisions, the election and the fiscal cliff approach. Please join us and RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. The call-in number is 877-355-0068 and the ID code is 99825483.
In my last letter, I asked for a few minutes of your time to complete a short questionnaire on my weekly advocacy messages. My thanks to those who have responded. If you haven’t yet completed the questionnaire, please take a moment to do so.