We are writing to urge you to support an amendment that Senator Arlen Specter is introducing to the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Resolution to add $1.5 billion to Health Function 550 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Specter amendment will provide increased funding for biomedical research which will lead to treatments and cures that save lives and improve the quality of life. Since FY 2003 the NIH budget has declined and at less than 1 percent, the proposed budget increase for FY 2006 is significantly below inflation for biomedical research. In FY 2005, the number of new research projects funded by NIH fell almost 9 percent. Continued erosion of the NIH budget for basic and applied research will lead to missed research opportunities and slower research progress.
The American Society for Microbiology is concerned that funding for the NIH falls far short of the support needed to sustain the US biomedical research enterprise. We urge you to support Senator Specter's amendment to provide an additional $1.5 billion for NIH in FY 2006. Thank you for your support for biomedical research.
James M. Tiedje, Ph.D., President, ASM
Ruth L. Berkelman, M.D., Chair, Public and Scientific Affairs Board