Statement by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley on Budget Agreement
We commend congressional leaders for their determination in lifting the outdated caps on fiscal year 2018 and 2019 defense and non-defense spending. This bipartisan budget deal provides a crucial opportunity to re-energize our national commitment to research, innovation and other priorities essential to the health and well-being of Americans. We are grateful that the agreement provides for at least $2 billion in additional funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over a two-year period. In order to combat major health threats ranging from Alzheimer’s disease, cancer to the deadly flu epidemic, the NIH and other health agencies require robust funding to confront these challenges head-on. The $6 billion specified for the opioid epidemic and mental health crisis is a needed down payment on the resources required to adequately pivot from the pain and suffering deeply entrenched in communities across the country.
We are disappointed that the bill cuts the Public Health and Prevention Fund by $1.35 billion over 10 years. The Fund invests in evidence-based activities including research, surveillance and tracking, public health infrastructure, immunizations and screenings and tobacco prevention, all necessary programs to help curb health care costs and save lives. It is critical that this budget deal leads to boosts in funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other R&D agencies to sustain our nation’s global leadership in R&D. We urge Congress to allocate sufficient funds to federal science, public health and R&D agencies in FY18 and FY19 to ensure medical progress and innovation advances at the level of scientific discovery.