The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is deeply concerned about the Administration’s proposal to cut funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $5.8 billion, nearly a 20 percent reduction below the current level of funding. The magnitude of this reduction in funding is unprecedented and will slow scientific discovery against chronic and infectious diseases. In his Joint Address to Congress a few weeks ago, the President noted the importance of finding new and improved treatments and cures for human disease. The investment in NIH funding for biomedical research has been a national bipartisan priority for federal government for decades and must continue to be the most important bipartisan issue for the American public. NIH funding not only strengthens public health, but also fuels our national economy by training future biomedical leaders, creating new jobs and growth of new industries and fortifies international competitiveness to keep America strong and healthy. While we applaud the stated support to meet the U.S. commitment to the Global Fund and PEPFAR, which will save millions of lives and bolster U.S. national security, the proposed elimination of the NIH’s Fogarty International Center would only serve to weaken public health in America by preventing vital scientific collaboration around the globe. The ASM urges Congress to reject the proposed cuts to NIH and continue its bipartisan commitment to increase the NIH budget by at least $2 billion a year. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to continue the tradition of investment in the NIH.
The Administration’s proposal to cut the Department of Energy Office of Science by $900 million from the FY 2017 funding level would have a serious negative impact on research and development in the United States, reduce the nation’s ability to train future leaders for the growing renewable energy industry, diminish investments in leading edge research infrastructure and user-facilities that support innovation across the scientific disciplines. Moreover, it would adversely affect scientific inquiry that transforms knowledge of the natural world and builds connections between scientific discovery and new products and processes to strengthen our economy. The proposed decreases in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development, Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Aeronautics and Space Administration would jeopardize beneficial research efforts in the microbial sciences. We urge the Administration and Congress to sustain research that is vital to our understanding of the biological and environmental sciences.
The ASM applauds the Administration’s support for the Department of Agriculture’s Competitive Research program, which is critical to food safety and security, animal and plant health and a competitive food and agriculture system in the United States. The ASM is also pleased to see the creation of an Emergency Response Fund and recommends that at least $2 billion be appropriated for the Fund.
ASM's CEO Stefano Bertuzzi's current bLog Phase addresses the cuts in the President's budget blueprint.
ASM engagement with policy issues and dialogue with government officials will continue with periodic alerts to ASM members, designed to facilitate members’ communications with their respective congressional delegations and to support science in general within the new Administration and Congress. We encourage the scientific community to engage in promoting evidence-based policymaking. By participating, the scientific community directly contributes to the broader understanding of complex issues so important to the general public.
To send a message to Congress go to the ASM's Legislative Action Center.
We believe that science must serve the public interest and that policies must be based upon sound science. When advocating for science, it is particularly important that the messages be clearly presented, compelling to nonscientists, and based on scientific evidence. The Office of Public Affairs has posted, Taking the Message to Congress, to assist ASM members in their individual communications with Congress.