September 19, 1996 - NIH Funding

President William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Clinton:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which represents over 42,000 members in the microbiological sciences, is writing to urge your support for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in fiscal year (FY) 1997. The nation urgently needs to invest more resources in the basic and clinical biomedical research which is funded by the NIH.

An increased federal commitment to biomedical research is critical to continued technological innovation in the U.S. The NIH has a long and distinguished history of scientific accomplishments and progress against disease and disability, and the economic benefits of its research to society are well documented. The NIH should, therefore, be at the forefront of federal agencies that should be a high priority for federal investment to ensure the health and prosperity of future generations of Americans. Both the House and the Senate, as well as the Administration, have recognized NIH's contributions to society and have made NIH a top national priority.

The NIH's professional judgment budget proposes a 6.5 percent increase over FY 1996 in the coming fiscal year and represents the best estimate of the minimum increase in funding needed to sustain progress in biomedical research and take advantage of new opportunities that will lead to improved health and a better quality of life. The House of Representatives agreed with this recommendation in its FY 1997 appropriations bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and approved a 6.5 percent increase for NIH, plus funds to support the first year of construction of a replacement clinical research center on the NIH campus, which resulted in an overall 6.9 percent increase for the NIH in FY 1997.

We strongly urge that Congress and the Administration adopt a final appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education which includes the level of funding recommended by the House for NIH for FY 1997. In the event that the Labor, HHS, Education bill is not completed as part of the normal legislative process, we urge that the NIH budget be increased to at least the House level in any Continuing Resolution adopted for the next fiscal year.

Thank you for your continued efforts and support for biomedical research and for ensuring that the NIH remains the preeminent world leader in research.