March 4, 2014
The president’s budget does not reflect the potential the U.S. has to advance scientific discovery and medical progress. While welcome, the minor increases for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration put severe limits on our ability to accelerate the pace of medical innovation, which saves countless lives, helps our nation meet its solemn commitment to wounded warriors, and is a major driver of new businesses and jobs. We’re also disappointed with reduced funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. AHRQ and CDC cannot be neglected in the name of deficit reduction, and it is truly disturbing that the President’s budget treats those crucial agencies in that manner. The capacity to improve health outcomes and healthcare efficiency, stem the explosion in chronic diseases, and protect the security of our nation in the face of lethal, drug-resistant infections and international pandemics all hinge on the expertise and resources available to these agencies. We must expand investigations into cancer clusters, deadly meningitis outbreaks, and conduct research crucial to bioterrorism preparedness. The insufficient funding levels for all these agencies jeopardize our global leadership in science — in effect ceding leadership to other nations as they continue to invest in strong R&D infrastructures that have already begun to attract our best and brightest innovators. We simply cannot sustain our nation’s research ecosystem, combat costly and deadly diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, and create quality jobs with anemic funding levels that threaten the health and prosperity of Americans. The administration and Congress must work together to boost funding for federal research and health agencies in FY15 and end the sequester in order to truly meet the level of scientific opportunity.