This week AADR sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to approve an omnibus appropriations bill when they return to Washington, DC on November 12th. Currently, the federal government is operating on a continuing resolution through December 11, 2014. In the letter AADR states the following:
“Without an omnibus appropriations bill, funding levels for NIH and NIDCR would decline even further, slowing our members’ efforts to develop point of care diagnostics to improve screening for diabetes, heart disease, lung cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer; unveil the genetic factors causing birth defects; and create therapies to prevent the progression of oral cancer. Without a predictable, sustained and robust investment in NIH the future of projects like these is highly problematic. Austerity measures–whether through sequestration or an across-the-board-cut in a continuing resolution–are counterproductive and place an enormous burden on the biomedical research enterprise by slowing the progress of promising research that could one day save the lives and improve the health of all Americans.
The continued budget uncertainty further exacerbates frustration among our members. Why should a student pursue a career in the United States when other countries are investing heavily in research? Why would an established researcher continue on after hitting a funding wall? It is up to you to alleviate their concerns, encourage them to pursue promising research in the United States and give scientists throughout the country the assurance that Congress values the National Institutes of Health by approving an omnibus appropriations bill.”
What can you do? Help amplify our message and send an email to your members of Congress urging them to enact an omnibus appropriations bill as soon as possible.
Earlier this month the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released an announcement stating that, “NIH will issue non-competing research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level). Upward adjustments to awarded levels will be considered after FY 2015 appropriations are enacted, but NIH expects institutions to monitor their expenditures carefully during this period.” It is important to note that this policy is consistent with NIH practices when Congress approves short-term funding via a continuing resolution (CR). The current CR expires on December 11, 2014. Congress will return to work after the November election and will then decide how to fund the federal agencies for the remainder of fiscal year 2015.
Senator Harkin, D-Iowa, released a press statement urging Congress to approve an Omnibus Appropriation bill when they return from the November election. Sen. Harkin states, “We must enact an Omnibus bill that will provide sufficient resources to all of the federal agencies…We cannot afford to put the government back on autopilot, hampering the work of the CDC and agencies on the frontlines of controlling Ebola.” He also emphasizes that Congress must not allow the sequester cuts to come back next year.
Currently, the federal government is operating on a continuing resolution (CR) through December 11, 2014 at a 0.0544% below FY14 levels. In a letter to members of Congress, the Coalition for Health Funding states, “We are extremely disappointed in the breakdown of regular order in this year’s appropriations process and the resulting short-term CR. We are also concerned that funding for emergent needs has been offset by an across-the-board cut. While relatively small, this cut compounds the impact of deep cuts already taken since 2010 due to federal austerity measures including sequestration.”
AADR also strongly encourages Congress to approve an Omnibus Appropriations Bill. On October 21st, members of the AADR Government Affairs Committee will be on Capitol Hill to carry this message to their members of Congress. AADR remains concerned that without an omnibus appropriations bill, funding levels for NIH and NIDCR could slide backwards to post sequestration levels. This would greatly affect our members ability to continue and enhance promising oral health research.