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Just released data from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) details the final amount to be cut from federal research program budgets as sequestration goes into effect. The full details are available on the updated Research!America sequestration fact sheet , though previous projections were relatively accurate as compared to these final numbers. Cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration will be higher than previously expected, with a combined loss of $593 million dollars for FY13. That amount is roughly equivalent to ensuring the safety of new medical and biological products at the FDA and programs that focus on prevention...
It’€™s all over the news: The federal government is headed for significant, across-the-board budget cuts. Sequestration, or 10 years of automatic spending cuts, is a self-inflicted consequence passed by Congress, aimed to be a drastic outcome of failing to agree on a federal deficit-reduction package. Some Members of Congress argue that the sequester will not have a significant impact; they claim that the 5.1% cuts made in 2013 are only a drop in the bucket and there is no need to worry. However, the amount of money that the National Institutes of Health will lose, $1.56 billion, could fund the entire National Institute of Mental Health for more than a year. Cuts to the National Science...
Dear Research Advocate, Medical research advocates are being heard by those urging a halt to across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to go into effect March 1; your voices are being picked up in the media and echoed by decision makers. But as the deadline approaches, no progress has been made, with many Members of Congress insisting that sequestration go forward. As much as we, and the public at large, have railed against Congress when it ’€œkicks the can down the road,’€ this is a time to call for just that! Delaying sequestration would create the opportunity (of course, not the promise) of a ’€œgrand bargain’€ before the continuing resolution ends March 27. (In order to avoid shutting...
The impact of sequestration will translate into reduced local and state funding to protect your health and safety. In a recent CQ article ( CDC Director Frieden Predicts Local Public Health Cuts Under Sequester ’€“ subscription required), CDC Director Thomas Frieden reminded us that the vast majority of the agency’€™s funding goes out to local and state health departments. These frontline health providers identify and protect us from threats like the flu, foodborne outbreaks, contaminated water, road traffic injuries, and new pathogens. The problem is that we don’€™t know what we’€™re missing until it’€™s too late because these frontline health workers are usually silent heroes. Take action...
Dear Research Advocate, President Obama delivered a comprehensive plan for stemming gun violence yesterday, identifying, among other components, a renewed role for federally funded research. (Prohibitions enacted by Congress in the mid-1990s and expanded in 2011 have largely prevented federal agencies from funding firearms-related research.) An executive memorandum signed by the president on Wednesday directs CDC to conduct research on the causes of gun violence and ways to prevent it. Restrictions on research that informs federal policy are counterproductive to sound governance. With the benefit of research findings, policy makers can identify the most effective strategies for preventing...
This week, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino declared a public health emergency in the city due to a flu outbreak. City officials have confirmed 700 cases of the flu, nearly ten times the confirmed cases last year; four people have died so far. Outbreaks have been reported in other areas of the country, affecting individuals of all ages and backgrounds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. It’€™s hard to imagine the dire health consequences Americans would endure without the flu vaccine, which is due in part to federal investments in research. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration have made...
Dear Research Advocate, The two-month reprieve from sequestration agreed to as part of the ’€œdeal’€ to avert the fiscal cliff is a partial victory for all who worked hard to save research, giving us much-needed additional time to make our case. We need be smart in using that time well, because the delay was paid for through a combination of new revenue and spending cuts that could further drain the pool of dollars used to fund research. The fact that many conservative members of Congress expressed outrage that the fiscal cliff deal didn’€™t include larger spending cuts underscores this point. The debt ceiling will need to be raised within the next two months, adding fuel to the fire. And...
Dear Research Advocate, Congress is back and there is talk of more stalemate, with support wavering for a deal to avert the fiscal cliff before the end of the year. Speaker John Boehner said early today that ’€œno substantive progress has been made’€ on negotiations. Amazingly, inaction (going over the cliff) remains a possibility. The more likely scenario is a short-term fix that leaves the major decisions in the hands of the next Congress. In the midst of behind-the-scenes negotiations between congressional leadership and the White House, appropriators are talking about finalizing their bills before the end of the lame-duck session rather than waiting to revisit the current continuing...
It started in Tennessee: one patient with an unusual recurrence of meningitis. An infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University worked the case like a detective, tracking down a lead. When the detective work led to an unusual suspect ’€“ a possible contamination ’€“ the Tennessee Department of Health was promptly notified. And when Tennessee public health specialists feared the contamination might be widespread, they contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In short order, a second federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and most states in the eastern half of the country were working to solve a puzzling fungal meningitis outbreak that affected...
Public Health Thank You Day, November 19, 2012 WASHINGTON, DC ’€”November 15, 2012’€”On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Research!America and leading U.S. public health organizations recognize public health professionals who work tirelessly every day to protect the health of all Americans. Public Health Thank You Day 2012 honors all those unsung heroes who keep our drinking water safe and air clean, develop vaccines, track and contain deadly illnesses and aid victims of devastating natural disasters. These everyday heroes include health inspectors, environmental health scientists, public health researchers, sanitation workers and many other dedicated workers. ’€œIn recent weeks, the nation...

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter