FY20 appropriations

Dear Research Advocate, Our guest author this week is Ellie Dehoney, Research!America’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy. Some long-awaited, promising news regarding the budget caps: congressional leaders and the White House have agreed in principle on a deal that would raise the discretionary budget caps for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 and raise the debt limit sufficiently to avoid another “cliff” for at least two years. There are (as there always seem to be) caveats: the amount by which the caps would increase is not yet public, negotiations continue on such variables as offsets, and we don’t yet know how the deal will fare with other than those members of Congress in leadership roles...
Just three months remain in the current fiscal year, and lawmakers in the House have made significant progress in moving 10 of 12 appropriations bills across the floor. These bills include significant and meaningful funding increases for health research and public health, exciting advocates about the potential to reinvigorate and advance innovation after years of funding cuts, budget stagnation, and making up lost ground. Lawmakers have made clear their support for science in both words and deeds. Unfortunately, making these promises a reality hinges entirely on Congress and the White House’s ability to stave off devastating cuts — 10% across the board — that are scheduled hit defense and...
Dear Research Advocate, The House is working to reach its goal of passing all twelve FY20 appropriations bills by the end of June, debating a “minibus” package of four of those bills this week, including the Labor, HHS, and Education funding bill that includes funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Next week, a second “minibus” package of appropriations bills will be on the House Floor, including funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (As time goes on without a budget cap resolution, it remains critical to do your part to assure a...
Dear Research Advocate, Peter McPherson, President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) has authored a timely op-ed in USA Today arguing that China’s determination to secure global economic leadership is not only reflected in its trade practices, but also in its robust investments in R&D. Meanwhile, our nation shows disturbing signs of allowing R&D to falter, ceding global economic competitiveness in the process. Surveys commissioned by Research!America tell us that fewer than 4 in 10 Americans say they have confidence that the U.S. will maintain our global standing in science and innovation. But as McPherson notes, we still have advantages and still have...
Dear Research Advocate, The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee markup of Fiscal Year 2020 spending priorities on Tuesday featured lots of good news. You can watch the subcommittee’s deliberations here and find draft text of the bill here . The next stop is consideration by the full Appropriations Committee on May 8, 2019. Some highlights: $41.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $2 billion above last year; $8.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $921 million above the 2019 enacted level, including new funding for efforts to support modernization of public health data systems (for example, to track and prevent the spread of...
Dear Research Advocate, This letter is my 400th, having started this journey in July 2011. Over the years I have received a wealth of high-content feedback, including strong disagreement from time to time. Our exchanges have helped refine Research!America’s advocacy and heighten our impact. It has been, and continues to be, a true privilege to share and discuss advocacy and public engagement topics with you over the years. Thank you for the opportunity!! Ironically, my first weekly letter in July 2011 concerned the threat posed by the possible passage of the Budget Control Act (BCA), the same law that set in motion a dramatic across-the-board budget cut and set up nearly a decade’s worth of...
Dear Research Advocate: Speaking recently to the “New Voices” group at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, as well as to young scientists during a visit to the University of Miami, I was energized by the passion, determination and commitment they all have for engaging the public. I discussed highlights of the survey findings we feature in Research!America’s new poll data summary A new survey question probes awareness and support for engagement of scientists in the policy making process. Other survey highlights include trend data that might surprise you — like the 10% increase since 2015 in those who say they would be willing to pay more in taxes if the money went to...
Designed to reduce the federal deficit, the Budget Control Act of 2011 placed strict, austerity-level “sequestration” caps on federal spending when Congress failed to develop a responsible plan for reducing the national budget. The caps are not a legitimate, thoughtfully designed policy suggestion, but rather a fallback budget mechanism—a blunt instrument that ignores current national threats and opportunities, and does not account for the strategic interests of our nation. Historically, Congress has been aware of this issue and responded accordingly, acting every two years to modify the Budget Control Act and increase the level of discretionary spending appropriated each year. More...
Dear Research Advocate: First, thank you! It was so meaningful to celebrate our 30th anniversary with so many of you at our annual meeting and advocacy awards dinner yesterday. It is difficult to do the day justice or fully express my gratitude for it. Check our website next week for a livestream of the annual meeting, which featured Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Admiral Brett Giroir; NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Director Dr. Gary Gibbons; a candid discussion between Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President Emerita, Dr. Susan Hockfield and Seema Kumar of Johnson & Johnson; and the heartfelt story of cystic fibrosis patient...
Dear Research Advocate: It is disappointing but not, sad to say, surprising that the FY20 budget process is starting off on shaky ground. Several reports this week reinforce what the president has previously asserted: his budget proposal will feature a 5% cut in non-defense spending. That’s likely not the worst of it. If that across-the board cut sits on top of the $55 billion overall reduction in non-defense discretionary spending required by the return of “sequestration” (shorthand for austerity level budget caps), the president may be proposing cuts of 15% or more to some, if not most, federal science agencies. (It is important to emphasize that the president’s budget amounts to a...

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We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America