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Dear Research Advocate, The news is concerning. President Trump’s proposed FY18 budget , released on Tuesday, fails to embrace national priorities including research and innovation that directly impact health, economic prosperity and national security. Steep cuts for federal research and health agencies run counter to American values and public expectations that research be put to work at the level of scientific opportunity, in order to advance health and quality of life and to drive the economy. The president’s proposed budget cuts $1.7 trillion over 10 years, almost all of it from non-defense discretionary programs. The FY18 budget proposes cuts of $7.2 billion or 21% for NIH; $1.2...
Dear Research Advocate, I’m sure you’ve heard that the House passed an ACA replacement bill today. In addition to the significant implications for health care access, the bill would repeal the medical device tax and, tragically, eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund. As written, this bill likely cannot pass the Senate. Beyond that, the only bet I would take when it comes to repeal/replace is that there are no safe bets... On to research funding: After months and months of hard work by Congress and advocates, an FY17 appropriations deal providing a $2 billion increase for NIH and modest increases for NSF and FDA is on track to become law. While the news is not 100% positive (e.g...
Dear Research Advocate, Congress is making progress in reauthorizing the FDA user fee programs, which is good news. According to officials at FDA, if the July 31 deadline for the “UFA” reauthorizations is missed, “reduction in force” (RIF) notices will be sent to one-third of the staff who review medical devices and a full 70% of those who review “small molecule” prescription drugs. The impact would probably be at least that dramatic for CBER, the center that reviews biologics. If the process stalls (or looks likely to), we’ll let you know and provide advocacy options! During his confirmation hearing before the Senate HELP committee yesterday, FDA Commissioner nominee Dr. Scott Gottlieb...
Dear Research Advocate, Just as attention was shifting to the FY18 budget year, we are hearing that a year-long continuing resolution is not a forgone conclusion for FY17. We understand that the pending FY17 omnibus package includes a $2 billion increase for NIH as well as increases for CDC, NSF and FDA (unfortunately not AHRQ). This is a tight window of opportunity -- members of Congress must hear from you now in support of passing an FY17 omnibus bill. As for FY18, as I noted last week, the President’s budget blueprint proposed deep cuts to NIH and our other research agencies. Since then, the high volume of bipartisan cries of outrage may signal better funding outcomes in Congress,...
Dear Research Advocate, Wow- yesterday was a whirlwind of activity! Despite the snow on Tuesday, Research!America’s Annual Meeting of Members and Advocacy Awards Dinner were both well-attended and a roaring success! Thanks to all of you who joined us. The archived link of the annual meeting can be found here and here are photos of the awards dinner. More to come on the day’s events, but business first: the president’s “skinny budget” was released this morning. The proposed budget (emphasis on “proposed!”) cuts $15.1B from HHS, $5.8 billion of that from NIH alone. It eliminates the Fogarty Center at NIH, and AHRQ would be subsumed into the Institutes, a mistake on the face of it that is...
Dear Research Advocate, It’s official! We have joined AAAS and other prominent scientific societies to partner with the April 22, 2017 March for Science , #ScienceServes . We are excited about the heightened attention on science we have already seen. It’s also terrific to see the outpouring of commitment to making the events of the day an awakening of more civic engagement by scientists and a celebration of what science has and will accomplish. Please see our statement , read more about the event and related activities, and consider having your organization become a partner. Plan to attend in Washington, D.C. or at one of 300 sites around the nation and worldwide, with more to be announced...
Dear Research Advocate, Budget conversations are back to the fore. President Trump has made it clear that his budget will cut non-defense discretionary (NDD) deeply. NDD makes up only about 16% of the federal budget, but fuels a wide range of crucial American priorities like education, criminal justice, services for veterans, public health, child protection and science. As Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) recently made clear cutting non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding is not a viable strategy for addressing our nation’s fiscal issues. We agree and challenge advocates for research to speak up for the role of science in stabilizing our fiscal future. On The Bio Report podcast today, I...
Dear Research Advocate, I am pleased to announce that Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award at our Advocacy Awards Dinner on March 15 in Washington, D.C., for his steadfast commitment to improving the lives of Americans through research, and for leading passage of the 21st Century Cures Act in the Senate. Join us in honoring him! This week, Research!America issued a statement and signed on to a letter spearheaded by AAAS calling on President Trump to rescind his executive order (EO) establishing a temporary ban on certain immigrants. Another Presidential EO placed a temporary hiring freeze on all federal employees, with limited exceptions. A memo from OMB...
Dear Research Advocate, With so much going on in -- and about -- Washington, D.C., it’s easy to overlook the matter of still-unresolved FY17 appropriations. There are members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers calling for completion of those bills, and we agree. That’s what our elected representatives should be doing instead of kicking the can down the road with yet another extension of the continuing resolution (CR). Yes, it’s true that if Congress takes up work to complete FY17 spending bills, members will be tasked with developing FY17 and FY18 bills at the same time. Some think this will be difficult for the Senate, with its schedule packed with confirmation...
Dear Research Advocate, Happy New Year! As I contemplate my list of New Year’s resolutions, I know there will be additions even after January 1st. I look forward to the wealth of opportunity for positive change in 2017. My first resolution is to engage -- and encourage and assist other stakeholders to engage -- with our elected representatives in 2017. The new year and the new President and Congress will bring changes we can count on, but outcomes that are unclear. For instance, the President-elect has placed significant emphasis on strengthening our nation’s infrastructure. One clear weakness in that infrastructure shows itself when infectious disease outbreaks threaten the public health...

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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.
Abraham Lincoln