appropriations

Dear Research Advocate, As President Biden said yesterday during his inaugural address, “With unity, we can do great things. Important things.” Science has long been a unifier — for the public and policymakers alike — and, due to the pandemic, is more in the forefront now than in many, many years. Science is the right partner for “The hill we climb; If only we dare”, in the words of inaugural poet Amanda Gorman. Last week’s announcement of the elevation of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) director to the President’s Cabinet was groundbreaking, placing science and technology at the table, in the most literal sense. The nomination of Dr. Eric Lander as Presidential Science...
Dear Research Advocate, Supplemental Funding Needs, Part 1 : President-elect Biden has indicated he will seek bipartisan support for a supplemental funding measure to address the urgent and ever-evolving needs created by this vicious and ongoing pandemic. Research!America has sent a letter to the President-elect with several supplemental funding requests, and we will follow up with a letter to Congressional leadership. Earlier this week we held an alliance member meeting with NIH Principal Deputy Director Dr. Larry Tabak and Deputy Director for Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer ( recording here ). Every minute of this meeting provided vital information on how the agency is struggling to...
Dear Research Advocate, Leadership Required : For so many of us, the events of the last 24 hours are difficult to fully comprehend. Our nation has experienced a profound shock to our democracy. The tragic overlay to this tumultuous time is that our nation faces an enemy that thrives on the very distrust, turmoil, and political gridlock we have been witnessing. COVID-19 has now killed more than 360,000 Americans — more lives lost in just ten months than the entire population of 99.7% of the cities and towns in this nation. In addition to assuring the peaceful transition of power to a new Administration, federal, state, and local lawmakers, and leaders from all sectors, can — and they must —...
Dear Research Advocate, Earlier this week, Congress passed a long-awaited legislative package containing FY21 funding and COVID-19 emergency dollars. However, President Trump has publicly criticized the bill and of this writing, it’s unclear whether he will sign it or seek changes. The current Continuing Resolution keeping the federal government open expires on December 28, 2020. Needless to say, we are closely monitoring the situation. Let’s look at the bill Congress approved: For FY21, it contains increases over the prior year of over $1 billion for NIH, $200 million for NSF, $125 million for the CDC, and $42 million for the FDA. Unfortunately, the Agency for Healthcare Research and...
Dear Research Advocate, Phase 3 enrollment is now underway for a number of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. That science has moved so quickly from first identification of the virus to Phase 3 trials, speaks to remarkable public-private sector collaboration. It also speaks to the absolute necessity of taxpayer investment in basic, discovery science over many years; a lesson we must not ignore as we plan responses to the pandemics that will surely follow. To help move the massive trial enrollment process along, NIH has launched the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network (COVPN), merging networks already funded by NIAID for HIV and other infectious disease trials. Each of the Phase 3 clinical...
Dear Research Advocate, Earlier today, the good news broke that Congress and the White House have reached a tentative agreement (emphasis on “tentative”) on Fiscal Year 2020 funding. We are hearing that if all goes as planned (emphasis on “if” and “planned”), the House and Senate will vote on two appropriations minibuses next week and the president will sign them into law before the current stop-gap funding measure expires on December 20, 2019. The first minibus would reportedly include the “Labor-H” bill, which funds NIH, CDC, and AHRQ, as well as the Agriculture and “CJS” bills, the first of which includes funding for FDA and the second, NSF. The other minibus would include the Homeland...
Dear Research Advocate, Later today, I will participate on a panel at Aspen Ideas: Health to explore the implications of an ambitious new survey commissioned by the Wellcome Trust. The report , which was released yesterday in Washington, explores public attitudes on trust in science, gathered in a survey conducted in 140 countries. Overall, trust in science is linked strongly to education and income and also tracks with trust in governments and the military. The survey takes a deep dive on attitudes toward vaccines, with findings that appear to closely track our U.S. findings from last year. The findings in the report will help us better understand how individuals, both in the U.S. and...
Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday was the first day of spring and with it comes the hustle and bustle of appropriations season. Rumor has it House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) plans to begin marking up fiscal year (FY) 2020 legislation as soon as late April with a Defense/Labor-HHS mini package among the first bills. It is therefore urgent we make the case now, with one voice, for strong FY20 research funding. Deadlines are close: Members of Congress must submit their individual requests to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-H) Subcommittee by March 28, the Agriculture, FDA Subcommittee by April 4, and to the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS)...
Dear Research Advocate: The government is now in its sixth day of a partial shutdown that has left agencies including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Science Foundation (NSF) without the necessary resources to conduct their critical, multi-faceted work. Negotiations between the Congress and the White House reportedly remain at a stalemate. Last year, when the House and Senate voted to end a weeklong shutdown, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said he hoped everyone could remember that "brinksmanship and hostage-taking do not work. They make bipartisan progress harder – not easier – to achieve." Let’s face it: no one is heeding that lesson now. The path that will truly...
Dear Research Advocate: News broke this week that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is struggling with a still-rising death toll due to Ebola, claiming more than 139 lives since July and spreading beyond the DRC. Meanwhile in the U.S., public health experts are working day and night to understand and overcome acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), now affecting children in 22 or more states. Ebola and AFM are public health crises today. It is predictable that there will be more unexpected crises on top of ongoing threats like the opioid epidemic, the increasing prevalence of obesity, chronic diseases and more. Which is why it defies common sense that investment in global health and in our...

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