In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Research!America has asked for a massive boost in federal spending to address the damage the U.S. research organizations have sustained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
”Funding of $26 billion is the minimum needed to re-seed the U.S. R&D continuum across all federal research funding, and to address gaps in voluntary health organization and philanthropic research funding resulting from the pandemic,” Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America, writes in the letter. “NIH Director Francis Collins has indicated that NIH alone needs $10 billion to address erosion in grant dollars.”
The text of the letter follows:
Dear Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader McCarthy:
We greatly appreciate your continued bipartisan commitment to responding resolutely and responsibly to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the extreme impacts of COVID-19 is the destabilizing and stultifying effect on progress against the plethora of other deadly and debilitating diseases that threaten Americans and populations across the globe. We are writing to urge you to coalesce around two actions to empower desperately needed, lifesaving progress.
First, we ask that you provide the funding needed to restart research stalled or reprogrammed as a result of the pandemic. NIH Director Francis Collins has indicated that NIH alone needs $10 billion to address erosion in grant dollars. Funding of $26 billion is the minimum needed to re-seed the U.S. R&D continuum across all federal research funding, and to address gaps in voluntary health organization and philanthropic research funding resulting from the pandemic.
Second, we ask that you craft Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations in a way that accommodates unanticipated, but critically important, pandemic and VA funding needs while continuing to advance other top American priorities. The current budget caps were established before COVID-19 altered virtually every facet of American life. The pandemic did not, however, alter the importance of such enduring priorities as meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans and speeding progress against cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other destructive health threats. We ask that you exempt funding for the VA MISSION Act and pandemic-related spending from the budget caps to enable robust growth in the annual budgets of NIH, CDC, FDA, AHRQ and other research agencies critical to medical and public health progress.
We appreciate your consideration of these two pivotally important actions. Thank you, and please express our gratitude to your respective staff members, for your exceptionally hard work on behalf of the American people.