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Statement of Research!America on Bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations for FY22

Research!America applauds Congress for developing the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022. Among many critically important provisions, the Omnibus appropriations legislation provides much needed FY22 funding increases for NIH, CDC, FDA, AHRQ, BARDA, and NSF, and funds a breakthrough innovation incubator.

We are grateful to House Appropriations Committee and Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX), and Labor-HHS Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK); as well as Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL); and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Roy Blunt (R-MO) for their leadership in prioritizing vital medical research and public health investments at the Department of Health and Human Services. We also thank Appropriations Committee leadership and the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Subcommittees and the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittees for their stewardship over FDA and NSF funding respectively.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

By providing an increase of $2.25 billion to the core budget of the NIH (5.3% over FY21), this agreement reaffirms strong bipartisan support in Congress for empowering life-saving research in every state across our nation. The American public agrees:  A January 2022 survey commissioned by Research!America found that more than 8 in 10 Americans (83%) across party lines agreed the federal government should fund basic scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge.

Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)

Research!America is also grateful to members on both sides of the aisle for providing $1 billion to stand up a new agency, “ARPA-H,” within HHS. This health innovation incubator, modeled after DARPA and ARPA-E, would empower multi-sector-fueled, high risk / high reward science aimed at shattering barriers and enabling breakthrough progress against existing and emergent health threats.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The bill provides an increase of $582 million for the CDC (7.4% over FY21). The CDC is our nation’s front line — not only against pandemics, but against the opioid crisis, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” disparities in health and health care, and everyday threats to communities nationwide. The funding increase is a down payment that will begin the revitalization of an agency that has faced years of inadequate funding, bolstering its capacity to address a range of public health threats and potential global crises.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Research!America is gratified to see a $102 million increase (3.2% over FY21) for FDA. This under-funded agency’s extraordinarily broad and profoundly important mission calls for additional resources. The ever-increasing list of public health responsibilities FDA fulfills directly affects the health and safety of Americans. Overall, FDA oversees more than $2.8 trillion in products, which account for 20 percent of annual spending by U.S. consumers. On a bipartisan basis, members of Congress responded to the need for more funding, and we look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to assure robust resources for this agency going forward.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

The bill provides an increase of $12 million to AHRQ (3.6% over FY21). AHRQ – another historically underfunded agency – will need significantly more funding to ensure our nation’s health care system adapts to the hard lessons imparted by COVID-19. AHRQ funds health services researchers who produce the evidence needed to assure patients are receiving the right care in the right setting at the right time, maximizing the return on medical progress. AHRQ-funded research focused on optimizing care has led to federal savings that dwarf the funding AHRQ receives each year.

Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)

We are strongly supportive of the $148 million (24.8% over FY21) increase in BARDA’s base budget. It would be difficult to understate the importance of this agency, which incentivizes the R&D needed to respond to bioterrorist threats as well as such equally daunting challenges as antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Going forward, we hope Congress empowers BARDA with funding specifically focused on emerging infectious disease (EID) R&D. Incentivizing partnerships in this arena helped provide the knowledge base needed to rapidly develop COVID-19 vaccines and respond to threats such as Ebola.   Providing dedicated funding for EID R&D could enable our nation to pre-empt or greatly mitigate the next COVID-19-like crisis, saving millions of lives and trillions of tax dollars.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The bill provides an increase of $351 million to NSF (4.1% over FY21). We perceive this increase as a down payment on the resources urgently needed to assure U.S. competitiveness in the global economic arena. We look forward to working with policymakers to build on this investment in much needed science & technology research, STEM education and training, and other urgent science and innovation priorities. 

Roy Blunt Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Research Building

By directing NIH to name a key research building after Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), this legislation recognizes this extraordinary leader for his unwavering, uncompromising determination to speed medical progress to the benefit of us all.

We are grateful for the bipartisan progress made by both houses of Congress to act with urgency to agree upon FY22 funding levels that empower the lifesaving, prosperity-producing, and security-enhancing progress Americans deserve, and our nation needs.  We encourage the House and Senate to pass the Omnibus appropriations agreement as soon as possible so the President can sign it into law and agencies can begin utilizing this important funding.

We also urge Congress to coalesce around a robust COVID-19 supplemental funding package. Americans do not want the Administration and Congress to take a “wait and see” attitude about the real possibility of another variant. Investment in the R&D needed to speed solutions against future variants – and future pandemics – should not be treated as an option, but as an imperative.  Lives, jobs, and our very way of life hang in the balance.

Contact Tim Haynes, Senior Director of Communications, at 571-482-2737 or thaynes@researchamerica.org with press inquiries.

About Research!America

Research!America is a non-profit medical and health research advocacy alliance which advocates for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all. Visit www.researchamerica.org.