The midterm election of 2018 continues to make waves through the political landscape. How will funding for science and medical research fare in this new Congress? Journalists, former members of Congress, and former congressional staff discussed this issue at Research!America’s Post-Election Briefing on November 8, 2018.
Reid Wilson, national correspondent for The Hill, set the stage by highlighting some of the big trends in the election but emphasized that nation remains fundamentally divided along rural, urban, cultural, political, social, and geographical lines.
A panel lead by PBSNewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor explored the implications of the election for medical and health research and development. The panel included The Hon. Michael N. Castle, Research!America Board Chair and Partner, DLA Piper, The Hon. John Edward Porter, Research!America Chair Emeritus and Senior Advisor, Hogan Lovells LLP, The Hon. Bart Gordon, Research!America Board Member and Partner, K&L Gates LLP and Sudip Parikh, PhD, Research!America Board Member and Senior Vice President & Managing Director, DIA Americas. The panelists generally agreed that while science funding in general has a positive outlook, challenges remains as there will be competition for limited funds and sequestration presents a significant concern on the horizon. “The whole world of scientific research is opening up like never before,” said Gov. Castle. However, Porter expressed a concern that a divided Congress might have a more difficult time reaching an agreed-upon budget. Parikh added that any growth in science programs would mean growth in discretionary spending, which would be unlikely, especially, since as Gordon pointed out, there is talk of “pay-as-you-go” budgeting and “about a $54 billion hole that’s going to be in discretionary spending soon.”
The midterm elections will have an impact on “medical and health progress, for R&D writ large and more broadly for the process of policy making which affects all of these priorities,” said Research!America’s president and CEO Mary Woolley in her remarks. “There is still a lot of advocacy to be done.”