A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Uncertainty calls out for advocacy

Dear Research Advocate:

Budget Uncertainty Deepens
The House Appropriations Committee has postponed this week’s scheduled consideration of the Labor-Health and Human Services (Labor-H) funding measure. A New York Times article indicated that the bill protects NIH funding; but, given how low the overall spending number is for Labor-H, “protected” is most likely interpreted as the NIH being cut less than other agencies, themselves highly valued. The distance between the Senate (passed) and House (estimated) Labor-H appropriations — in excess of 20% — sets the stage for another continuing resolution (CR). What actually does happen next is uncertain, which is why advocacy is essential.

The Devil’s in the Details
There are so many health priorities on the line in the not-yet-official House Labor-H bill. Perennial threats are back on the table, including wholly unjustifiable underfunding of CDC, the elimination of AHRQ and PCORI, a prohibition on funding for health economics research at NIH, and more micromanagement of the NIH as well. If any or all of these issues strikes a chord with you, let us help you write a letter to your representative asking them to represent your views in Congress. Email info@researchamerica.org — one of us will get right back to you.

Reports You Can Use to Advocate Pro-Innovation Public Policy
A recent report by Battelle underscores the economic importance of the biopharmaceutical industry in the innovation ecosystem. The industry supported approximately 3.4 million U.S. jobs in 2011, including more than 810,000 directly, playing a vital role in our nation’s economy and accounting for $789 billion in economic output in 2011. A new United for Medical Research report explores the role NIH-funded research plays in spurring new businesses and critical medical discoveries. And put our new quick-read fact sheet, which highlights ways sequestration slows medical progress, to work in your advocacy; check it out here.

Deadline Approaches for R&D Tax Credit
Last week I mentioned the importance of tax reform as it relates to medical research and innovation across sectors. Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are still soliciting comments from their Senate colleagues through the end of the week about how they will rebuild the tax code. If you have not yet, please urge your senators to ask for inclusion of the R&D tax credit in the tax package, finally making it permanent.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

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