Statement by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley on the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Research!America applauds the unprecedented boost in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and significant increases for other federal health agencies in FY18 to accelerate medical progress, public health and scientific innovation. As we confront daunting health challenges from Alzheimer’s disease to the opioid epidemic, it is our responsibility as a nation to advance the discovery, development and delivery of new treatments for patients anxiously waiting for the next medical breakthrough. The increase will enable the NIH to expand and sustain innovative initiatives that will deepen our understanding of complex diseases, furthering efforts to eradicate many of these health threats. The additional funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is crucial to address the myriad health challenges facing our nation, from diabetes to global pandemics. We are also gratified that the legislation responds proactively to escalating threats, including the opioid crisis and antibiotic resistance, and provides increased funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a sound investment to achieve higher quality, lower cost health care. 

We are particularly grateful to the leaders of the House and Senate “Labor-H” Appropriations Subcommittees, Chairmen Tom Cole (R-OK) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Ranking Members Rosa DeLauro (D-CO) and Patty Murray (D-WA) for their foresight and unstinting dedication to faster medical progress and public health. The bill also provides increased funding for the Food and Drug Administration, resources critical to the agency’s mission in protecting the health and safety of Americans.

The funding increase for the National Science Foundation also signals a willingness among policymakers to sustain our nation’s preeminence in science as China and other countries strive to surpass us in research and development. Many Americans believe that our position as a global powerhouse in science is somewhat tenuous. In a recent survey commissioned by Research!America, only one-third of respondents say the U.S. will be the world leader in science and technology in the year 2020. The omnibus bill is a positive step forward in strengthening our global competitiveness and our nation's commitment to research and public health. 

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient