Statement of Research!America CEO and President Mary Woolley on President Biden’s FY22 Budget Proposal
Research!America applauds President Biden for the critically important research and public health investments included in his FY22 budget proposal.
National Institutes of Health
The President’s budget proposal recommends increasing the base budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by approximately $2.5 billion, or 5.9%, and providing $6.5 billion for the establishment of a new science and technology (S&T) initiative called “ARPA-H.”
Research!America truly appreciates the President’s decision to nearly double the increase to NIH relative to his original FY22 funding proposal, with all of that additional funding going to NIH’s base budget. Future medical and public health progress is grounded in the fundamental discovery enabled by NIH and brought to fruition through private sector innovation.
In regard to ARPA-H, our alliance supports the President’s determination to leverage cross-sector collaboration and capitalize on key attributes of DARPA and ARPA-E to create a new avenue for life-saving, S&T-driven progress. Drawing from the wide range of expertise within our alliance, we look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to ensure that ARPA-H plays a unique and impactful role in our nation’s S&T ecosystem.
As the President’s budget and bipartisan actions by Congress this year so clearly reflect, our nation is not going to allow COVID-19 to slow the life-saving progress we need; just the opposite – we are going to move faster and more boldly against disabling and debilitating threats. Outside the annual appropriations process, NIH clearly needs funding to address the corrosive effects of COVID-19 on FY21 funding.
NIH Director Collins has estimated that the pandemic set NIH-funded research back by $16 billion. To catch up so we can accelerate forward, it is in our nation’s interests to fill that funding gap. NIH has been asked to provide Congress with parameters on how to best address this additional funding need, and we hope the Administration and Congress will provide supplemental funding that restores the right starting line for the race ahead to more cures.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
As outlined in the President’s preliminary budget proposal, funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would increase by $1.6 billion, or 11%. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, other recent outbreaks of infectious diseases, and challenges like antimicrobial resistance underscore the vital role played by the CDC. To protect us, CDC scientists must be on the ground fighting public health threats wherever and whenever they occur. This budget takes a first step in closing the longstanding gap between the demands the CDC is expected to meet and its resources.
Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ)
AHRQ is the lead federal agency tasked with the essential mission of translating medical and public health research into more effective and affordable health care for Americans across the country. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, our nation was facing medical errors costing over 22,000 lives each year. We must empower AHRQ with the research resources to address this tragic reality and confront the estimated $1 trillion in unnecessary spending that inflates annual health care costs. The President’s request makes a much needed down payment on the promise AHRQ-funded research holds by proposing a budget of $380 million, an increase of 12%, over 2021.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
It would be difficult to overstate the crucial role FDA played in responding to COVID-19 or the agency’s overall responsibilities in moving medical interventions – from tests and other technologies to prescription medicines and biologics – from the lab to the patient. Responsible for evaluating the safety and effectiveness of prescription and tobacco products, as well as nearly 80% of the nation’s food supply, FDA-regulated products account for 20 cents of every dollar American consumers spend. According to Alliance for a Stronger FDA, the President’s request includes approximately $3.6 billion for FDA (exclusive of mandatory funding for FDA under the 21st Century Cures Act and one-time funding items). We are grateful for this much needed increase of nearly 10.6% over 2021, which will help assure FDA can meet its crucial, multi-faceted mission.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
President Biden’s budget request also includes an increase of $1.7 billion, or 20% for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Decades’ worth of NSF research was utilized in the COVID-19 response, such as computer software simulations of the molecular structure of the virus. NSF’s portfolio is intentionally diverse; investments yield unknown discoveries, spanning biology, economics, engineering, mathematics, computational science, data analytics, the social and behavioral sciences, and other high-impact disciplines. We strongly believe that robust funding for NSF is a sound strategy for advancing the United States’ strategic interests in an increasingly complex international landscape, preempting and overcoming threats to our nation and world, and meeting the aspirations of the American people.
Research delivers solutions – vaccines developed from decades of previously conducted research led to shots in arms in less than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, a monumental achievement. We believe Congress, on a bipartisan basis, is ready to super-size our nation’s S&T capacity as a strategic imperative against the multitude of health, security, and economic challenges that lay ahead. The President’s budget is a robust and welcome first step in that process.