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The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) urges the 106th Congress to act as promptly as possible to finalize the Fiscal Year 2001 Labor/Health and Human Services/Education appropriations bill and to approve the increases in funding of $2.7 billion (15 percent) for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the $3.9 billion budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which were agreed upon before the election. The ASM represents over 42,000 scientists and health professionals who promote research and research training in the microbiological sciences to improve health, economic well being and the environment.

The ASM is concerned that delayed action and uncertainty about funding levels for biomedical research and public health programs will have a deleterious effect and slow progress on critical projects that impact human health and security. Continued real growth in the NIH budget is necessary to maintain the momentum, competitiveness and vitality of the biomedical research endeavor and to build on knowledge gained by the nation's investments in research. The opportunities for investing wisely in biomedical research have never been greater, and it is essential that the NIH be funded at a level which will enable it to fund promising existing and new areas of basic and clinical research. Likewise, the CDC must have new resources to respond and be prepared for public health emergencies in the United States and globally.

The ASM appreciates your efforts which have contributed to the generous increases that are currently part of the FY 200l Labor/HHS/ED appropriations bill for FY 2001. We urge you to make completion of the bill a high priority when Congress reconvenes in early December. Thank you for your support and we would be pleased to assist you in any way possible in this process.

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