Statement by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley on FY17 Omnibus Bill

Monday, May 1, 2017

The $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the FY17 omnibus, along with additional resources to combat public health threats, will help us achieve better health, a stronger economy and maintain our competitive edge in science and innovation. The bill re-energizes our nation’s research ecosystem to address antibiotic resistance, Alzheimer’s disease and advance bold studies like the Cancer Moonshot, Precision Medicine, and the BRAIN Initiative which reflect the sentiment of a majority of Americans (63%) who agree that basic scientific research should be supported by the federal government.

The bill provides significant funding for the 21st Century Cures Act, public health initiatives including opioid abuse and mental health programs, and modest increases for the National Science Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The slight increase for FDA is not enough to ensure the agency is well-staffed to implement provisions in 21st Century Cures and speed medical progress. We are also disappointed that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality budget continues to erode, placing further strain on the agency’s ability to optimize the quality and delivery of new treatments and therapies to patients. Further, the bill continues to inhibit federal funding for gun control research despite support from a majority of Americans (58%) who say research into the causes and prevention of gun violence is critical. We are grateful for the leadership of Chairmen Roy Blunt and Tom Cole, and Ranking Members Patty Murray and Rosa DeLauro in building on the momentum of bipartisan congressional support for medical and health research. We urge Congress to move swiftly in passing this bill and channeling resources to these agencies. 

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient