sequestration

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: 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...
Dear Research Advocate: The Congress is poised to pass, and the President appears ready to sign, a final FY19 spending package, averting another shutdown. Of note, the summary of the bill text indicates a $269 million (9%) increase for FDA, bringing its total FY19 budget to $3.08 billion, and a $307.6 million (4%) increase for NSF, bringing its total budget to $8.1 billion. Research!America joined with other science community leaders and Nobel Laureates earlier this week on a letter to members of Congress and the President, calling attention to the considerable negative effects of the recent partial shutdown as well as the need to avoid another costly impasse. There had been rumors that the...
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: 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: Americans spent $8.4 billion on Halloween in 2016 -- and no doubt will spend even more this year-- enough to fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) for 17+ years! What we spend to improve the quality of health care delivery represents only about 0.012% of the $3.3 trillion we spend on health care. Stats like these help place research -- in this case health services research (HSR) -- spending into perspective. (For more advocacy-relevant info, see our fact sheet .) The vision for AHRQ that Director Gopal Khanna shares in this terrific blog post underscores why a far greater investment in HSR makes strategic sense for our nation. More on what money...
Dear Research Advocate: At our 2017 National Health Research Forum last week, three expert panels provided “Straight Talk” about what it means to drive research to achieve a disease-free world; how our country can face-down public health crises like the opioid epidemic; and what we can do to improve the R&D pipeline. The room was filled to capacity, more than 1,300 people across the country tuned in via live-stream, and we even trended on Twitter! We are so grateful to the participants - speakers, panelists, moderators, sponsors and audience - for making this an event that has staying power and consistently seeds new thinking. Check out the recap of the event. As our Forum was in full...
Dear Research Advocate: The Trump Administration released its first list of science priorities , an annual White House document intended to guide federal agency budget-making as it relates to research and development. You are likely getting tired of me asserting that the news is mixed when it comes to the goings on in Washington...the news here is mixed. There are several glaring and disturbing, albeit unsurprising, omissions: e.g., no acknowledgement that our nation is grossly and dangerously underfunding R&D relative to the threats we face and the returns it generates; no reference to leveraging R&D against climate change. But there are aspects of this document that are heartening...
Dear Research Advocate: This afternoon I participated in a stimulating forum on “Transformational Imperatives,” hosted by the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Board members and friends of the Institute engaged speakers on topics of the moment; in fact, my presentation was all about the moment, i.e., “Research in Context.” Scientific opportunities can be enabled or derailed by our elected representatives, who determine funding and policies-- which is to say, a major part of the ‘context’ of research. While they don’t do their decision-making in a vacuum, it can seem like that, especially when scientists and all of us...
Dear Research Advocate, Former Congressman John Porter, Research!America’s esteemed Chair Emeritus, does not mince words in his Washington Post LTE today, cautioning against state-level education policies that could be misused to subvert science education. Treating knowledge that has been affirmed by years of scientific exploration as negotiable jeopardizes our nation’s ability to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities before us. It is a path to decline rather than progress. We cannot afford to shy away from straight talk about misguided policies. Fortunately for our nation, John never does. This afternoon, the House Labor-H Subcommittee, formerly chaired by Mr. Porter, “marked up...

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