Mary Woolley Weekly Advocacy Message

Dear Research Advocate, The President released his proposed budget for FY21 earlier this week, kicking off the federal budget season. The President’s budget is a statement of priorities, even if it has no force of law (it’s the Congress that is charged in the Constitution with the ‘power of the purse’), and it rightly gets considerable attention. We think it’s deeply damaging for our nation that a higher priority isn’t being placed on science. Among the counterproductive proposals in the budget is a more than 7% cut to NIH and a double-digit cut to the CDC. Our colleague Jenny was quoted in Bloomberg Government as noting that, as underscored by the coronavirus outbreak, “the most important...
Dear Research Advocate, “June Gloom” is what the residents of Los Angeles call this past month’s weather. I was in California last week at the invitation of UC Riverside, which has, in addition to a robust portfolio of federally funded research, an inspiring commitment to the community. For the record, it wasn’t gloomy in Riverside, but then, the LA area is vast, and the overcast is closer to the ocean. There is a decent parallel here to the vastness of the landscape for support of research in Washington: the House passed two “minibus” appropriations packages this month that include significant increases for federal agencies that support research. This week we issued a statement about the...
Dear Research Advocate, I am very pleased to announce that Research!America’s 2020 Advocacy Awards nominations are now open! Act now to nominate those you want to recognize for outstanding advocacy leadership on behalf of scientific, medical, or public health research. The awards will be presented at our dinner next March. When members of Congress return to Washington, D.C. next week, the House will begin considering Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills, with the Labor-HHS Subcommittee scheduled to mark up their bill on April 30. Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) has released a new report explaining why our nation needs a well-resourced public health system (which pivots on a well-...
Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, the House Budget Committee approved (on a party-line vote, 19-17) legislation that would raise the fiscal year 2020 (FY20) non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending cap by $631 billion, a 5.7 percent increase over the 2019 cap, and raise the defense cap by $664 billion, a 2.6 percent increase. The House is expected to consider the legislation on the floor early next week. The fact that legislation to raise the caps is being considered signals important progress. Our science-focused Raise the Caps campaign and other individual and collaborative advocacy efforts like that of NDD United are pushing hard for action, because -- as Senate Appropriations Chair,...
Dear Research Advocate, The partial government shutdown continues, now at day 27. There are too many furloughed workers struggling to make ends meet, our nation’s parks and monuments are being ruined, research support by NSF has been put on hold, and drug approvals have slowed at FDA. For a run-down on the broadscale impact, see this USA Today article quoting ASBMB’s Ben Corb, and for a closer look at the toll the shutdown is taking on research, check out this article discussing the impact at the University of Wisconsin, emblematic of so many campuses nationwide. As a temporary patch, agency leaders have called back thousands of employees to work without pay. At the FDA, Commissioner Scott...
Dear Research Advocate: After Tuesday’s election, we may or may not know the exact composition of the 116th Congress, as there are likely to be some very, very close races. But there is little doubt that the picture will be clearer than it is now when it comes to the policy dynamics next year -- and that is what our post-election briefing on Thursday, November 8 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. EST at AAAS (1200 New York Ave, NW in Washington, DC) is all about. Register now! If history is any guide, the magnitude of change in Congress will affect the prospects for completing unfinished business during the lame-duck session of Congress; not surprisingly, the more turnover, the harder it is to build...
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...
Dear Research Advocate: This morning, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing with Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, the nominee for director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) said Dr. Droegemeier is eminently well qualified to lead OSTP and he hopes for a speedy confirmation. Use this editable email to reinforce that sentiment with your Senators! You can read Dr. Droegemeier’s testimony for the hearing here . Also in the Senate today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on "Prioritizing Cures: Science and Stewardship at the National Institutes of Health...
Dear Research Advocate, During a visit today to Augusta University, which is home to the former Medical College of Georgia, I heard grad students distill their multiple-hour thesis presentations into 3 minutes. You may be familiar with the “ 3MT ” concept, but this was my first experience of it. What a terrific grounding for researchers who want to engage in public outreach and advocacy! I also heard-- not for the first time-- that grad students in science want communications training, but rarely receive it. More widespread adoption of 3MT would undoubtedly help bridge that gap. During a House Labor-H Subcommittee hearing this week focused on NIH, champions from both sides of the aisle...

Sidebar Quote

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