Statement by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley on President Trump’s Budget Proposal

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Drastic cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget run counter to the priorities of our nation, national security and the aspirations of Americans. Our nation was built on hard work, a determination to create a better future for our children, and empathy, not apathy, in the face of human suffering. This budget proposal cuts life-saving research and public health services that are fundamental to that vision. Shrinking the NIH budget will ultimately leave many deadly and costly diseases unchecked, causing our federal deficit to balloon rather than contract. In order to prevent catastrophic spending, we must reduce the rate of chronic diseases, and pre-empt and rapidly disarm pandemics, all vital functions of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Consolidating AHRQ into NIH and eliminating the Fogarty International Center would severely impact our ability to improve health care delivery and address global health threats. If we hope to improve efficiencies within our regulatory system, we must give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the necessary resources to help speed drug approvals, and maintain its ability to conduct pre-market review of new medicines. Our veterans also deserve to benefit from research into traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders that have few effective treatments. 

The President cites a lack of evidence as the reason for many of his budget cuts, which demonstrates a strong interest in ensuring federal policymaking relies on sound, science-based evidence. However, many programs that are valued by Americans, particularly those designed to protect the most vulnerable among us, are based on evidence and should be given the opportunity to prove their effectiveness. In short, this budget proposal doesn’t reflect the priorities of a nation committed to protecting and improving the health and well-being of its citizens. We urge Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion to maintain the momentum of medical progress and adequately fund and preserve our federal health agencies.

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco