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ASM Urges Action to Combat Zika Emergency

Current events linked to the Zika virus make aggressive public health actions and funding to combat this emerging infectious disease more crucial than ever.
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The Honorable Patty Murray, Co-Chair
Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
United States Senate
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4704

Dear Senator Murray:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the largest single life science Society with about 38,000 members, urges you to prioritize and strengthen funding for the Nation’s science and public health programs as you deliberate on strategies to reduce the country’s long-term deficit. Further constraining discretionary funding for science and public health programs will adversely affect research progress, national security and the ability of the Nation to improve health and economic recovery.

Scientific research generates economic benefits for the country by creating jobs and stimulating growth in the private sector. Research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) alone supports approximately 488,000 jobs across the country. The research and development and training of the next generation of scientists at the Nation’s educational institutions are the foundation for economic prosperity, global competitiveness and a secure future for the United States.

The discretionary funding caps in the Budget Control Act of 2011 place limits on annual appropriations bills for the next ten years, which could result in flat or declining funding for science and public health programs at the NIH, National Science Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, US Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense. We urge you not to seek additional savings from discretionary funding for science and public health because cuts would have profoundly adverse consequences in the near and long term for economic, health and national security and would be a serious step in the wrong direction for the United States.

We strongly urge the Committee to ensure that deficit reduction policies strengthen, rather than harm, the Nation’s science and public health infrastructure.  Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

David C. Hooper, M.D., President, ASM
Roberto Kolter, Ph.D., Chair, Public and Scientific Affairs Board

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