Dear President Trump, Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell, Leader Pelosi, and Leader Schumer:
As the new Administration and 115th Congress begin, the 260 undersigned members of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research urge you to enact without further delay a final fiscal year (FY) 2017 spending package that includes the Senate Appropriations Committee-approved $34.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and to ensure that NIH remains a priority in FY 2018 and beyond. The Ad Hoc Group is a coalition of patient and voluntary health groups, medical and scientific societies, academic and research organizations, and industry, dedicated to enhancing the federal investment in biomedical, behavioral, social, and population-based research supported by NIH.
As you know, a robust, reliable investment in scientific discovery is crucial to improve patientsâ€™ health, strengthen the economy in the near- and long-term, and maintain the U.S.â€™s global preeminence in medical innovation. Through NIH, the federal government plays an irreplaceable role in supporting biomedical research that is inherently inefficient for industry to conduct but is essential to inform our fundamental understanding of medicine. More than 80 percent of the NIHâ€™s budget supports research in all 50 states and D.C., as well as U.S. territories, at medical schools, teaching hospitals, universities, and research institutes, which often are among the largest employers in their respective communities. The attached fact sheet details the return on investment of NIH funding, as well as polling data demonstrating the publicâ€™s strong support for sustaining this investment.
We are grateful Congress recently took important steps to help NIH regain some of its lost purchasing power after years of stagnant funding, by providing real funding growth over inflation for NIH in FY 2016 and by approving the 21st Century Cures Act with near-unanimous margins. A flat FY 2017 appropriation threatens to undermine these key efforts. The budget ambiguity resulting from the current continuing resolution leaves the agency and researchers in limbo; worse, the prospect of a flat or reduced final budget not only would delay progress, but also could serve to discourage the next generation of researchers from careers in science.
We are committed to working with you to continue the longstanding, bipartisan tradition of enhancing the federal investment in medical discovery toward our mutual goal of advancing the health and well-being of the American people. To ensure Americaâ€™s continued leadership in an increasingly competitive innovation economy and alleviate suffering for millions of patients awaiting the promise of a healthier tomorrow, we must prioritize a budget trajectory for NIH that advances sustainable, predictable growth. We urge you to approve an FY 2017 appropriation of $34.1 billion for NIH without further delay and to ensure that NIH remains a top priority in FY 2018 and beyond.
Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research