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Advocacy

Advocating for Science and Research Funding

NAVBO encourages you to advocate for science and research.  On this page, we will keep you informed of critical actions being taken that will impact the scientific community and actions you can take.  Through our membership with Research!America and other advocay sources, we hope to bring you up to date information.

Contacting Your Representatives Can Make a Difference for Science

If you are a U.S. citizen, let your U.S. representatives hear from you and encourage them to be advocating for science. There are many methods by which to reach out -  from attending meetings or personal visits to congressional offices, to doing something as simple as writing a postcard.  Be sure to reach out to your district and state representatives. Now, in addition to funding the NIH budget and other federal biomedical research budgets, scientists must clearly express how other policies impact scientific collaboration, a key component in the scientific process.

Here are links to organizations that encourage, support and aid science advocates:
Coalition for the Life Sciences
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
Research!America

If you are aware  of other groups, please let us know and we will post them here (send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 


From Research!America
SeptNovember 16, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
November 16, 2017

Dear Research Advocate,

Yesterday, a high energy discussion on Advocating for Basic Science in a Disease-Focused World once again revealed the strong appetite for advocacy among scientists, and young scientists in particular. The audience resonated with my point that “you can’t outsource advocacy,” and many were inspired to tweet on the spot.

In case you doubt the impact of scientists engaging in advocacy, consider this: Research!America’s Board Chair, former Congressman (R-DE) and Governor Mike Castle, was recently interviewed by the Society for Neuroscience: “Scientists deepened my understanding of the promise of embryonic stem cell research during a time when there was huge opposition in Congress and the White House for federal support of such research. This interaction led to the development of bipartisan legislation introduced by me and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) in 2005 that expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.”

To drive more bipartisan support for science, and in the process give scientists and friends of science a way to engage in timely advocacy, Research!America and many partners across the broad science community teamed up on a joint print and digital ad campaign to urge Congress to pass a deal that raises the budget caps. The ads were published this week in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, The Weekly Standard, Politico, and other media outlets. The ads make science much more visible and top of mind as congress weighs key public priorities.

Complementing the #RaisetheCaps ad campaign is a letter making the case for a budget deal from the leaders of science-focused organizations to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his counterparts in congressional leadership. The campaign may be getting the attention of decision-makers: according to an article in The Hill today, there is growing support for a two-year budget deal to raise the caps! Research!America has also made the case in an op-ed in the Huffington Post and an LTE in the St. Louis Post Dispatch; and our partners are active on social media. There is so much power in numbers -- please do your part by taking action now.

Today, the House passed its tax package largely along party lines (227-205); the plan is for the Senate Finance Committee’s tax package to be on floor after Thanksgiving. Research!America signed on to a letter led by AAAS expressing our concern about provisions in the House bill that would have a negative impact on academic researchers, and by extension, on science and all of us. Earlier today, Research!America held a special alliance members meeting with tax experts Robert Bradner, Nicole Elliott and Kathleen Nilles from Holland & Knight to discuss the House and Senate bills and their possible impact on many aspects of R&D. We’ll send a recap shortly!

Tax reform will surely impact future R&D investments. Where those investments stand now, and insights on trends, are addressed in our just-released annual Investment Report. Despite an uptick across sectors, investments in research have been essentially stagnant when viewed as a percentage of total U.S. health spending. Medical and health R&D accounts for less than 5 cents of each health dollar. If we expect to make progress in finding solutions to a growing list of challenges to health and our economy, we have to do better than that. Read more in the new report.

We hosted a stellar briefing on Capitol Hill yesterday, showcasing the power of a well-functioning research continuum working to address Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and underscoring that this high burden, high cost illness simply does not receive the attention it deserves and requires. The briefing was followed by an opportunity for the audience to engage in an exercise (literally) that imparts a sense of what it is like to live with COPD. It proved a powerful awareness and advocacy tool.

Another health threat that receives less attention than it calls for is antibiotic resistance. The White House has announced a renewed commitment to implementing the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. We will soon release (and will share here) a factsheet on this challenge, which poses a significant threat to our children and future generations.

Please join us on social media for Public Health Thank You Day (PHTYD) this coming Monday, November 20th. The outpouring of enthusiasm we’ve witnessed in the four week run up is a preview to what we anticipate on PHTYD: thousands of kudos delivered to the men and women who underpin our nation’s health security. The bipartisan co-chairs of the Congressional Public Health Caucus, Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Kay Granger (R-TX), Gene Green (D-TX), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), have introduced a PHTYD resolution. Please urge your Representatives to cosponsor by contacting Rep. McGovern’s office at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
November 2017

This is the time for all hands on deck advocacy to assure that the draconian caps on federal discretionary spending are lifted. “Sequestration” budget caps established under the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) will come back into full force after a partial, two year reprieve. If Congress does not lift the spending caps again, science is in trouble. And that means finding solutions to what ails us, which are dependent on research and innovation, is also in trouble. Our initiative to raise the caps is designed to give you advocacy tools to weigh in with members of Congress to help guarantee they are hearing from their constituents that the status quo is in fact not okay. Read more.


 

From Research!America
September 21, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
September 21, 2017

Dear Research Advocate,

Last Friday, I attended the 2017 Lasker Awards luncheon. The awards program honors the legacy of Mary Lasker, who once crisply noted: “If you think research is expensive, try disease!” I was struck by Lasker Laureate John Schiller’s provocative observation in his acceptance remarks that ensuring the “nurturing stream” of a robust science infrastructure may be more important than celebrating outstanding individual scientists. I take his point and am glad there is room to celebrate both, and it is certainly true to Mary Lasker’s legacy that our community advocates for both -- for the institutions and policies and funding that make science possible, and for the individuals and partnerships that work to give us all better health and quality of life.

One way Research!America drives advocacy is through our public opinion surveys. In a recent survey, we noted that ‘lack of trust’ has become less of a barrier to clinical trial participation, particularly among minority populations. Also, majorities of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and non-Hispanic whites say they would participate in a trial if recommended by their doctor. We must work together to build even more trust and help drive participation in clinical trials among all segments of the population.

An advocate’s work is never done! Despite its proven return to members of our military, their families (who in a very real sense are also members of our military), and taxpayers across the nation, medical research conducted through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DoD) has been placed at risk by the Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Blunt (R-MO) attempted, but were unable, to block Senator McCain (R-AZ) on this point. A final bill still needs to be conferenced (negotiated) with the House. We need all hands on deck to convince the appointed negotiators or “conferees” to reject the damaging restrictions in the Senate legislation when they craft the final bill. Check out next week’s message for a letter template; we hope you will make use of it to help protect life-saving research!

Very much in the news, the Senate HELP Committee has abandoned an effort to craft a bipartisan bill that would shore up the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the chances are growing that the controversial “Cassidy-Graham” replacement bill will secure enough Republican votes to pass Congress. Cassidy-Graham is controversial for a number of reasons, one of which is that it would repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). Research!America sent a letter to Senate leadership reiterating our opposition to ending this common sense fund. With hurricane season and its numerous public health challenges upon us, it makes far more sense to increase the PPHF than to even contemplate -- much less pursue -- its elimination. Use this 2017 action alert to make your voice heard.

Two good reads: FBR President Matthew Bailey’s Wall Street Journal article on the importance of animal research, framed from the vantage point of pet owners, and an article about speeding medical progress by Dr. Mikael Dolsten, President of Worldwide Research & Development at Pfizer. Dr. Dolsten shares how he has been inspired by the Biden Cancer Moonshot’s goal to achieve ten years of progress in five. Dolsten writes, “In that spirit, I am challenging us all to think about what a decade’s worth of progress in half the time could mean – not just in cancer research, but in battling every single disease that’s plaguing society, and devastating patients and families around the world.” It is a worthy goal; accomplishing it means we all need to push for eliminating barriers to progress and raising more voices and more resources to support research and innovation.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
September 6, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley 
September 6, 2017

Dear Research Advocate,

Earlier today, the Senate Labor-H Appropriations Subcommittee, the jurisdiction of which includes NIH, CDC and AHRQ, passed their FY18 bill out of subcommittee, to be considered by the full committee tomorrow. For the third year in a row, Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) put together a bipartisan bill, and despite difficult budgetary conditions, included a $2 billion increase for NIH. We are hopeful for good news about CDC and AHRQ, too, but we must wait for the bill text to be released to know for sure. Stay tuned.

We truly appreciate the Subcommittee’s ongoing support for NIH. Unfortunately, we have more work to do. All of the appropriations bills making their way through the House and Senate are premised on achieving some kind of budget deal. (The House bills assume a ‘cap-busting’ overall defense budget, and the Senate bills bust both defense and nondefense caps.)

If signed into law without a deal to raise the caps, these appropriations bills would trigger a “sequestration” (in this context, “sequestration” means an across-the-board budget cut. The term is also used to signify a reduction in the budget caps...believe me, I know how confusing this is.) The bottom line is that without a bipartisan budget deal, science funding will at best stagnate, and could well shrink. We can't let that happen.

Congress and the President are reportedly coalescing around the idea of adding a short term continuing resolution (CR) and debt ceiling relief to the Hurricane Harvey emergency supplemental. While this news is still fresh and in flux, I would say the odds are good that Congress will take this path. This approach makes sense given the long list of action items on the agenda for Fall. While a CR is far from ideal, it does provide breathing room for Congress to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal. We have to keep our eye on that ball.

As I write this, Research!America Chairman, Governor Michael Castle, and Research!America Board Member and AAAS President, Dr. Rush Holt, are making the case for a budget deal with key Members of Congress, including Sen. Murray and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA-15). Join us in fighting for a budget deal by taking part in two digital days of action to #RaiseTheCaps, on September 11 and 12. It’s easy! Here’s how.

As I think about tomorrow’s Forum and the opportunity it presents to engage a diversity of individuals who contribute so meaningfully to research and public health, I am reminded of the thousands of people who continue to bear the brunt of Harvey, and countless others in the path of Irma. It is a privilege to advocate for work that helps people rebuild, literally and figuratively, when times are at their toughest. Thank you for what you do everyday, whether in the path of danger or safe but willing and eager, nonetheless, to help those who are.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley 
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
August 24, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley 
August 24, 2017

 

Dear Research Advocate,

The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017, was not only riveting, it was a reminder that Americans are as enraptured as ever by science. The challenge is not to convince the public that scientific exploration is meaningful, it is to convince them that scientific exploration is at risk.
 
Which brings me back, inevitably, to the federal budget. When they return from August recess, members of Congress face formidable budget challenges: to prevent default, they need to raise the debt limit. To prevent a government shutdown, they need to pass an FY18 budget bill. There are only 12 days in September when both houses of Congress are in session, and President Trump needs to sign these bills (or a combined bill) by September 30. To complicate matters, he is threatening to force a government shutdown if Congress doesn’t fund the border wall.
 
Congress is also under pressure to stabilize the individual insurance market by shoring up the ACA (Obamacare), a tightrope walk that has the feel of impossibility, but is fast becoming an imperative.
 
But that’s not all, or it won’t be if advocates push hard enough. As I have asserted in every letter for many weeks now, Congress must raise the FY18 budget caps or science funding will falter. There is no room under the current caps for advancing our nation’s strategic interests; there isn’t even enough room for stasis. The 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), which put these caps in place, is a drag on our nation. Here is Center on Budget and Policy Priorities-produced background on the BCA that reinforced my determination to help untether our nation from the law’s outdated and out-of-touch strictures.
 
Any interest in writing an op-ed, blog post or LTE making the case for raising the caps or against a government shutdown? We’d be thrilled to help. Email Anna Briseno at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
For inspiration, here’s an op-ed Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) penned about the importance of NIH. He writes “...we should make certain we continue to prioritize medical research and its ability to save lives tomorrow through today’s investments.” If the caps stay in place and the government shuts down, we will save fewer lives tomorrow.
 
Nor would the present would be well served. An article in today’s New York Times about the reemergence of syphilis drives that point home. Consider the federal health care dollars our nation saves because CDC-supported health departments undertake the laborious, thankless job of tracing and containing infections like this one.
 
Another example: the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project forecasts 16 named storms and eight hurricanes this season (science at work). And according to a recently released public survey, Americans fear natural disasters more -- actually far more -- than other broad-scale threats. It is always a mistake to shut down the government, but it is hard to imagine worse timing than hurricane season.
 
First responders like CDC are already grossly underfunded, in part because we take for granted the essential functions they fulfill, and in part because of the budget caps. But to let their budgets lapse altogether…
 
Advocacy isn’t discretionary.
 
Join our digital push to #RaiseTheCaps a two-day, concerted effort to convince Congress that a bipartisan budget deal is imperative. Mark your calendars for September 11 and 12, and keep an eye on our Facebook page, Twitter, and website for more info.
 
One final advocacy option: if you didn’t get a chance last week, urge your congressional delegation to champion repeal of the medical device tax. The lifesaving role these technologies play in cardiovascular care alone justifies removing a disincentive to their development.
 
When it comes to medical and public health progress, where is the road taking us? Are we even on the right one? What is a reasonable “endpoint?” How, and how quickly, can we reach it? At our 2017 National Health Research Forum on September 7 at the Newseum, we’ll be taking a critical look at the path we’re on and where we are on it. RSVP today and join the discussion!
 

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
August 10, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
August 10, 2017

 

Dear Research Advocate,

This afternoon I participated in a stimulating forum on “Transformational Imperatives,” hosted by the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Board members and friends of the Institute engaged speakers on topics of the moment; in fact, my presentation was all about the moment, i.e., “Research in Context.” Scientific opportunities can be enabled or derailed by our elected representatives, who determine funding and policies-- which is to say, a major part of the ‘context’ of research. While they don’t do their decision-making in a vacuum, it can seem like that, especially when scientists and all of us who want scientists to succeed, sooner rather than later, fail to speak up.
 
Many members of Congress are hearing what is top of mind for their constituents during the August recess. Are they hearing about making medical research a higher priority? I urge you to engage with your representatives one-on-one or at a town hall (check out upcoming in-district events)-- speak up for science! In a recent op-ed, Sen. Coons (D-DE) urged the scientific community-- and by extension advocates for science-- to action, “...don’t just publish your research-- publicize it. Scientists simply can’t be silent, or else science truly will be silenced.”
 
There are some disturbing threats to science right now. You likely share concerns expressed last week about the reemerging (although it is never out of sight) threat to fetal tissue and stem cell research. Potential cuts and changes to indirect costs also place research in the crosshairs and threaten to shutter labs across the nation. In addition, the “Homeland Security Minibus,” which funds 4 of the 12 appropriations bills (Defense, Energy-Water, Legislative Branch and Military Construction-VA) includes a troubling amendment that bans funding for research using dogs at the VA. We have a responsibility to those suffering from deadly and disabling diseases-- including those who have served our country and who now look to the VA for hope-- to put every avenue of research to work to find solutions. Here are some resources on fetal tissue, indirect costs and animal research to help you navigate these critically important conversations.
 
In order to achieve sustained, robust federal funding support for research, we must keep up the drum beat for a bipartisan budget deal. Send a message to your representatives to make the case. My Wall Street Journal letter-to-the-editor in response to an op-ed by Sen. Cotton (R-AR), who calls for the repeal of the Budget Control Act of 2011, ending the boom and bust cycle that “cripples the military’s planning ability,” makes the point that budget caps are also having a crippling effect on the nation’s scientific research enterprise. Join us in urging Congress to #RaiseTheCaps.
 

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
July 27, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
July 27, 2017

 

Dear Research Advocate,

In a week with lots of mixed signals on health care, we released new survey data that shows a striking increase in public support for empowering patients (and we are all patients!) to participate in clinical trials. A strong majority say joining a clinical trial is as valuable as donating blood. And a new question shows the public would value providers discussing clinical trials as a routine part of health care. These findings come just as NIH’s “All of Us” initiative launches a new grant program to encourage enrollment in the ambitious one million-enrollee clinical research effort.
 
Read more about our survey, and plan to attend our National Health Research Forum in Washington, D.C., on September 7 to hear more on this and other research-relevant topics!
 
Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill with $7.3 billion for NSF, which is a cut of 2% from fiscal year 2017. According to CJS Subcommittee Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), that would mean 456 fewer grants, cutting support for 5,000 researchers, students teachers and technicians. As Senator Shaheen stated:“This legislation should do more to invest in infrastructure, science, and law enforcement, which is why Congress must approve a new budget deal that provides the necessary resources for both military and domestic programs.”
 
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again and again): To support priorities like science, education and health, as well as defense, we must have a budget deal to lift the FY18 sequestration budget caps. Better yet, instead of revisiting the caps every couple of years, Congress could repeal the bill that established them: the 2011 Balanced Budget Act. Read Senator Cotton’s (R-AR) op-ed calling for repeal, then write your own. We’ll help! Contact Anna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
Meanwhile, as in previous years, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) inserted language into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would choke off crucial DoD funding for medical and health research. (Did you know that DOD funding enabled Dr. Dennis Slamon to develop the miracle drug Herceptin? This language would stop that kind of progress.) Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) have drafted an amendment to prevent the McCain provisions from taking effect. Read our letter thanking these stalwart research champions, as well as one to all Senators asking them to support the Durbin/Blunt amendment. Then take a moment to reinforce this with your Senators.
 
In regulatory news, it appears the Senate will not pass the Food and Drug Reauthorization Act (FDARA) before the end of July. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who will be joining us at our Forum on September 7, has indicated that he fully expects Congress to pass FDARA before the current user fee agreements expire on September 30, thus avoiding the need for layoffs. We’ll continue to keep a close watch and provide advocacy opportunities as needed!
 
Finally, our friends at FASEB are hosting a timely webinar to equip science advocates to act locally, capitalizing on the August congressional recess to make the case for robust science funding. In solidarity with FASEB’s intent, I spoke last evening to a group of vascular biologists from across the nation about the importance of speaking to their members of Congress in August. It's important to overcome the “invisibility” of science and scientists, which is holding back more robust support for science. One of several good questions came from a researcher whose own member of Congress is already a great champion -- my advice is (1) it's never superfluous to say thank you, and (2) think about someone you know who lives in another part of the country -- perhaps somewhere that is less “science intensive” -- and ask them to connect with their member of Congress. Please get involved; find a way to make a difference in August.
 

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
July 13, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
July 13, 2017

 

Dear Research Advocate,

Former Congressman John Porter, Research!America’s esteemed Chair Emeritus, does not mince words in his Washington Post LTE today, cautioning against state-level education policies that could be misused to subvert science education. Treating knowledge that has been affirmed by years of scientific exploration as negotiable jeopardizes our nation’s ability to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities before us. It is a path to decline rather than progress. We cannot afford to shy away from straight talk about misguided policies. Fortunately for our nation, John never does.
 
This afternoon, the House Labor-H Subcommittee, formerly chaired by Mr. Porter, “marked up” its appropriations bill. Given that the subcommittee was working with total funding $5-$7+ billion below the FY17 level -- depending on how you do the math -- it is striking that the bill provides NIH an increase of $1.1 billion (inclusive of Cures funding), cuts AHRQ funding, but doesn’t eliminate it (as previous House bills have), and sustains the NIH Fogarty International Center, refuting the president’s budget. Alarmingly though, CDC would receive a $200 million cut and there is language in the bill to impose new restrictions on fetal tissue research.
 
It is fair to be both appreciative of this legislation -- especially the leadership of Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) -- and concerned about the distance between this bill and the investment actually needed to protect and advance health. See our statement.
 
As Harvard President Dr. Drew Faust eloquently conveyed in her recent alumni letter, the long-standing partnership between the federal government and universities is a driving force behind medical progress. The Labor-H subcommittee took a stand on behalf of this partnership by including language in the bill that would prevent the Administration from advancing the 10% indirect costs cap included in the president’s FY18 budget proposal.
 
That’s not to say this issue has been put to rest - far from it. First, the indirect cost language in this bill -- like the bill as a whole -- remains a proposal until signed into law. Second, the House is planning to explore the indirects issue more closely this Fall. In an LTE this week, Former House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert observes that “Research does not get cheaper if you leave [indirect] costs out; it just becomes less likely to get undertaken at all.” Exactly the straight talk that is called for! Compelling op-eds by university leadership in Illinois and Florida echo this message. A community sign-on letter on indirect costs is currently circulating-- email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to include your organization.
 
Objecting to the counter-productive sequestration constraints appropriators face this year, 20 House Republicans sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) last week encouraging a budget deal to raise the FY18 sequestration caps. Our sign-on letter, with over 200 organizational signatories, reinforces the call for Congress to #RaiseTheCaps. Keep the drumbeat going by sending a message to your representatives! (In case you’re wondering, it is entirely possible to raise the caps after the appropriations committees act; in fact, the annual appropriations process was well underway before the last two budget deals were signed into law.)
 
Adding to the House’s busy week: the full chamber passed the FDA User Fee Reauthorization Act of 2017 (FDARA). The Senate has yet to act. The Trump Administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the bill that reflects some concerns, but reportedly none that would lead to a veto. Make sure to tweet House and Senate Leaders, thanking the former and urging the latter to pass the bill ASAP!
 
Speaking of urgent issues, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a report this afternoon recommending actions to overcome the opioid crisis. FDA has weighed in with plans to modify the risk/benefit calculation they use when evaluating pain medications, and CDC released a new Vital Signs report with key facts and resources to promote responsible opioid prescribing practices. Check out our new fact sheet on the pivotal role research is playing as our nation intensifies its response to this threat.
 
Ending on positive note: HHS Secretary Price has appointed Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, obstetrician-gynecologist and former Georgia public health commissioner to serve as CDC Director. Dr. Fitzgerald brings a wealth of experience to this crucially important post.
 

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
June 1, 2017

Letter from Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley 
June 1, 2017

 

Dear Research Advocate,

Word of a plan to pass an FY18 omnibus bill in the House by the end of July has surfaced. The plan would require the House to rapidly draft, mark up and stitch together 12 appropriations bills. If House leadership takes this route, it is unclear what overall budget numbers they would work from; rumor has it they may adhere relatively closely to the “sequestration” budget caps established in 2011. Ironically, that would be significantly better than the president’s budget but, as I discussed last week, far worse than what is needed: an agreement to raise the caps and permit more budget flexibility. Call your members of Congress to make the case; and follow up with a message.    

The opioid epidemic is one of the major challenges that clearly call for more research and underscore the importance of more budget flexibility to help make that research possible. In an op-ed co-authored by NIH Director Francis Collins and National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow, NIH announced a joint effort with industry to help accelerate the pace of novel overdose-reversal and prevention methods. Tying their hands now via an inadequate budget is in no one’s best interest.  

Research not only brings benefits to the nation writ large -- including driving the innovation needed to combat the opioid epidemic -- but also brings benefits close to home. In a joint op-ed, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston write: “Here in the Granite State, federally funded research has given birth to cutting-edge companies, addressed threats to key sectors of our economy and saved lives with new cures.” Are you interested in penning an op-ed about the impact of research in your state? Consult our newly completed state-by-state fact sheets for local stats and contact Anna Briseno () if we can help.  

A topic that has been top of mind for many is expenditures variously termed “indirect costs,” “overhead,” and “facilities and administration.” These include specially purposed laboratory space, utilities, disposal of hazardous waste, compliance with a broad range of regulations, and other essential aspects of conducting and administering research. The President’s budget proposes a drastic reduction in reimbursement for these costs and hearings on the topic are ongoing. This is a complicated issue; I am pleased to announce a Research!America alliance members call next Thursday (6/8) at 2 p.m. ET that will feature two top experts on the topic: Jennifer Poulakidas, VP of Congressional and Government Affairs at APLU and Toby Smith, Vice President for Policy at AAU. Members can get call-in information by emailing Jacqueline Lagoy at . In the interim, check out AAU’s FAQs on the topic.  

If you’re in the DC area, consider joining us for two Congressional Luncheon Briefings: The first, Innovation Intersection, will be held on June 12 and will drill down into the clinical research phase of the discovery, development, delivery pipeline. The second, The Value of Research and Prevention in Addressing the Societal Burden of Migraine, on June 15 will focus on a condition that affects an estimated 12% of the world’s population and is emblematic of why we must invest in more research. 

 

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley
President and CEO Research!America


From Research!America
May 23, 2017

Statement by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley
on President Trump’s FY18 Budget Proposal
May 23, 2017

The president’s proposed FY18 budget is an imbalanced, heavy-handed approach to bolstering national defense at the expense of other American priorities, including the research and innovation crucial to national security. Instead of weakening our nation with this approach, we urge the 115th Congress to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal that will ensure that both defense and non-defense priorities are sufficiently funded. While labeled as ‘discretionary,’ research and innovation supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration strengthen our nation’s security and economic prosperity. Consistently, surveys show how highly Americans rank securing better health and quality of life; the president’s blueprint is tone-deaf to that reality. Steep funding cuts for the federal health agencies are counterproductive at a time when innovative research is moving us closer to identifying solutions for rare diseases, new prevention strategies to protect Americans from deadly and costly conditions, advances in gene therapy, new technologies for understanding the brain, and treatments that harness the ability of our immune system to fight cancer. Health services research, supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is folded into NIH in the budget proposal, but funding is far below what’s needed to combat deadly errors and costly inefficiencies in our health care system.
Congress recognizes the urgency in keeping research for health at the forefront of national priorities, as it has signaled with back-to-back, significant increases for the NIH in FY16 and FY17. Strong bipartisan support for research must continue in FY18, and at the same time, Congress should act to lift the budget caps that threaten to hamstring non-defense discretionary appropriations. To seize this opportunity in medical and health research and innovation, and address the twin specters of disease and ever-rising health care costs held over every family and the nation as a whole, we must urge our congressional representatives to step up. Chairmen Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), and Ranking Members Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) are among those to be specially commended for their ongoing leadership and commitment to protecting the health of Americans.
###
For current estimates on how the proposed FY18 budget could impact medical and health research agencies, visit http://bit.ly/2qdxXiJ.

 


From FASEB
May 10, 2017

Webinar: The Trump Budget: How scientists can fight proposed cuts to NIH

Join FASEB for a special webinar on:
Tuesday, May 23 at 2 p.m. EST
You must RSVP by Monday, May 22 to participate in the webinar.

The Trump Administration proposed deep cuts in funding for the federal science agencies in 2018. Congress is now considering the President's proposal. Jennifer Zeitzer, Director of Legisative Affairs, and Benjamin Krinsky, Senior Legislative Affairs Officer, will provide an overview of the recommended cuts, the timeline and key steps involved in the federal budget process, and guidance on what individual scientists can do to urge lawmakers to reject the President’s plan.

More advocacy information is available on the FASEB website


From the Coalition for Life Sciences
May 8, 2017

The week of May 1, Congress introduced and passed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that funds the federal government and its various programs for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17).
The Omnibus bill provides:

  • A $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health for a total funding level of $34 billion.
  • A $9 million increase for the National Science Foundation for a total of $7.5 billion.
  • A$22 million increase for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a total of $6.3 billion.
  • FDA was roughly flat funded for a $2.76 billion funding level for FY17. This number doesn’t include anticipated user fees.

Now is the time to thank your Member of Congress for his/her support. The CLS has a letter found here that you can use or edit to automatically send to your elected official.

You could also utilize social media to reach your elected official. Here are some sample tweets:

  • @RepSmith thank you for your steadfast leadership and support for @NIH.
  • @RepJohnson thank you supporting the Omnibus that provided increases for life science research.
  • @RepJones thank you for supporting important @NIH funding critical to saving lives and growing our economy.
  • @RepMoran my work relies on @NIH funding. Thank you for your continued support.

It is evident, the voice of scientists are heard on Capitol Hill. Advocacy matters. Your elected leaders do respond, but now you must thank them for hearing you.
Thank you for your time, efforts, and advocacy. We are all in this together.

Visit the CLS website:  http://www.coalitionforlifesciences.org/


From Research!America
May 5, 2017

Review the May/June Research Advocate here.  Please note the call for action to encourage Congress to increase the FY 2018 NIH Budget.


From Research!America
May 4, 2017

Excerpts from letter from Mary Woolley, R!A Executive Officer -
Research funding: After months and months of hard work by Congress and advocates, an FY17 appropriations deal providing a $2 billion increase for NIH and modest increases for NSF and FDA is on track to become law. While the news is not 100% positive (e.g. CDC received a cut, as did AHRQ), the headline is that Congress neither defaulted to flat-funding under a long-term CR nor acquiesced to OMB’s request for additional budget cuts. This is real-time evidence that advocacy works! See our statement and budget chart, and this terrific analysis by Matt Hourihan of AAAS.


I urge you to tweet or otherwise contact congressional and appropriations leaders to recognize their incredible efforts on this bill. Saying thank you is so important; don’t outsource it! Do it yourself.

FY18: The House “New Democrat” coalition sent a letter to House Republican leaders encouraging them to focus on six key policy areas in FY18. Two of the six: scientific research funded by agencies such as NSF and DARPA, and a $40 billion budget for NIH. In addition, Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) are circulating a letter asking their Senate colleagues to join them in requesting robust NIH funding in FY18. Urge your Senators to sign on.

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, former Administrator of NOAA and Distinguished University Professor and Adviser at Oregon State University, received the National Academy of Science’s most prestigious award, the Public Welfare Medal. Jane’s speech was extraordinary; I urge you to take a few minutes to listen to her remarks (begins at 1:19:00). What particularly resonated was her call for scientists to “provide hope.” She beautifully articulated how important it is for every scientist to learn, and work, to change hearts and minds for science.