February 25, 2011 - ASM Letter to Congress Concerning FY 2011 Continuing Resolution

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is writing to comment on the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution (HR 1) that proposes major cuts in federal funding for crucial science and public health programs in the United States. The ASM strongly urges Members of Congress to reject the proposed cuts that would adversely impact essential research, development, and programs supported by federal agencies responsible for much of the Nation’s success and global leadership in science, medicine, and public health.

We urgently ask Congress to recognize the long-term, detrimental effects of large reductions in FY 2011 budgets in science and public health programs at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the DOE Office of Science, and the Environmental Protection Agency. We understand the need for fiscal restraint, but believe that R&D investments must continue for the health of the Nation and its economic future.

The unprecedented cuts to research and public health programs would harm the Nation’s long-term global competitiveness at a time when other nations are increasing their own investments in these areas. Federal support would be reduced to universities across the country, not only slowing important research projects but discouraging students in technical fields critical to US competitiveness and economic growth. Budget cuts threaten innovation in academia and private industry and the creation of valuable products and technologies. The R&D programs supported by federal funding sustain important scientific disciplines that might otherwise languish, and help train future generations of scientists, clinicians, and others in the Nation’s technical workforce. The ASM is concerned that deep reductions would send a negative message to industry, young Americans considering a scientific career, and the science and technology community.

If severe budget cuts for science and public health are enacted, US science and medicine will inevitably suffer. The ASM urges Congress to reject the proposed cuts to research and public health at NIH, CDC, FDA, NSF, the DOE Office of Science, and USDA and EPA research and education programs. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on this legislation and look forward to being of assistance to Congress during the budgetary process.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Bassler, Ph.D., President, ASM
Roberto Kolter, Ph.D., Chair, Public and Scientific Affairs Board

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