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) Subcommittee by April 1.
These deadlines mean you have deadlines too. Right now, you can have an impact by making the case for science, public health, and biomedical research to your own member of Congress, asking them to represent the interests of constituents like you by including NIH, CDC, AHRQ, FDA and NSF in their appropriations requests. Share with their office answers to these questions: How has research impacted you or family? How does your research serve the public’s interest? (Check out this link to send an email, or if your member has one, use their appropriations portal.)
Additionally, you can urge your Representative to sign on to the House NIH Dear Colleague letter (deadline is March 25), the House AHRQ Dear Colleague Letter (deadline is March 27), and the House NSF Dear Colleague Letter (deadline is March 25). Check out this article in the Washington Post on what’s at stake if NSF is under-funded; it quotes AAAS CEO and Research!America Board member, Rush Holt, on the necessity of funding science if the US is to remain globally competitive.
In addition to submitting written requests, Research!America is also pounding the pavement on the Hill alongside many of you! We spent Tuesday with the Alliance for Stronger FDA for their Hill Day, making the case for $3.33B for FY20 for FDA. You may have seen a recent Politico interview with FDA Commissioner Gottlieb about his legacy at FDA. We will continue to engage with FDA through the transition and wish Dr. Gottlieb all the very best.
Our next alliance member call on March 27 is particularly timely since it will feature Laura Friedel, Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Majority Clerk. We hope you can join us to hear more about the Senate’s FY20 plan! If you are an alliance member (or are interested in joining the alliance!) RSVP to Jacqueline at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While House and Senate appropriators seem determined to move legislation on time, they are facing the uphill battle of the FY20 budget caps. As you know, Research!America is partnering with scientific societies and other research stakeholders on a campaign to secure a bipartisan budget agreement to lifts these caps. I encourage you to sign our petition to Congress and share it broadly. And here is a link to an action alert to push out to your network to get everyone involved.
If you were unable to attend our Annual Meeting last week, you can watch it from the convenience of your laptop right here! At the event, we released the first in our new series of fact sheets, developed in partnership with the Lasker Foundation. The inaugural fact sheet focuses on cystic fibrosis, a serious and debilitating condition affecting 70,000 people worldwide. One of our speakers, Dr. Gary Gibbons, Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, called attention to hopeful cystic fibrosis research findings just making the news. The promise of research like this is why we keep the advocacy drum beat going.