Health research funding will face some of the steepest cuts in a decade if the House Republicans’ agreement sets next year’s spending at 2022 levels, potentially slashing billions of dollars in medical research.
House Republicans agreed to hold fiscal 2024 government funding to their fiscal 2022 levels as part of the deal reached by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to secure the speaker’s role after a historic 15 votes stretched over several days. Such a move would lead to about a 7% cut from funding total for fiscal 2023. Democrats will have plenty of opportunities to chip away at those efforts, however.
“Going back to ’22 spending levels, that’s obviously hard,” Sudip Parikh, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said. “Our US previous investments put us on the cusp of all these amazing treatments—mRNA, CRISPR, gene therapy. Those treatments are going to be discovered and developed somewhere, whether it’s here in the US or somewhere else. I hope it’s here in the US.”
Spending caps usually mean curbs for discretionary programs, since about two-thirds of the budget encompasses mandatory funding of defense, Social Security, and Medicare. In the health care area, discretionary dollars fund federal programs in public health, and research on medicine, health outcomes, and physical sciences.
“Generally, any kind of cuts to the top lines are not good for research,” said Ellie Dehoney, vice president of policy and advocacy at Research!America.