Senators Sign Letter Opposing Cuts to NIH

Mirroring a call from their brethren in the House of Representatives, a bipartisan group of 41 Senators have penned a letter to the Senate Appropriations leadership urging them to “maintain a strong commitment to funding for the National Institutes of Health.”  The letter, organized by Sens. Robert Casey, D-Penn., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., points out that “investment in the NIH has yielded an unprecedented number of scientific advances that have improved health outcomes and contributed significantly to the Nation’s economic growth,” a message that ASBMB has repeatedly made during meetings with congressional offices.  However, the Senators stopped short of endorsing a specific budget number for NIH in FY12, giving little indication as to what they would consider a “strong commitment.”  ASBMB, in conjunction with the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, have called for an FY12 budget of $35 billion; currently, the NIH budget is $30.8 billion.

ASBMB encourages you to reach out to your Senators to thank them for signing on to the letter.  To obtain contact information for your Senators, go to www.senate.gov or the FASEB Capwiz page (http://capwiz.com/faseb/home/). Then call their Washington, DC offices and ask to speak with either the Senator or their health aide. When you reach the Senator or health aide:

  • Tell him/her that you sincerely appreciate that Senator [ ______ ] signed the letter that Senators Casey and Burr circulated in support of strong FY 2012 funding for NIH
  • Thank him/her for being willing to maintain a strong commitment to funding for NIH
  • Remember to mention that you are a constituent
  • SPECIAL NOTES:
    • If your Senator did not sign the Casey-Burr NIH funding letter, it is appropriate for you to call or email them (or their aides) to ask why the Senator made that choice.
    • Note that some members of the Appropriations Committee have a policy of not signing letters that are addressed to the committee. If this is the case with your Senator, ask him/her (or the aide with whom you speak) to give serious consideration to the message in the letter.
    • Since the letter was addressed to Senators Inouye (D-HI), Cochran (R-MS), Harkin (D-IA), and Shelby (R-AL), you do not need to call their offices.
    • If you are calling Senator Casey (D-PA) or Burr’s (R-NC) offices you can just thank them for being champions for NIH!
    • It is fine to leave a voicemail or telephone message if you cannot speak directly with your Senators or the health aides.

The list of signers in alphabetical order (Republicans appear in bold) is as follows:

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

Mark Begich (D-AK)

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Scott Brown (R-MA)

Richard Burr (R-NC)

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Robert Casey (D-PA)

Susan Collins (R-ME)

Christopher Coons (D-DE)

Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Al Franken (D-MN)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Kay Hagan (D-NC)

John Hoeven (R-ND)

Tim Johnson (D-SD)

John Kerry (D-MA)

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Carl Levin (D-MI)

Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

Jack Reed (D-RI)

John Rockefeller (D-WV)

Charles Schumer (D-NY)

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Jon Tester (D-MT)

Mark Udall (D-CO)

Tom Udall (D-NM)

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Ron Wyden (D-OR)

2 thoughts on “Senators Sign Letter Opposing Cuts to NIH

  1. At the beginning of the post, you state Sens Toomey and Burr organized the letter, but you later call it the Casey-Burr letter. Can you clarify the difference here? Thanks.

    • Sorry got my Pennsylvania Senators mixed up. Sen. Casey is the one who organized it. Thanks for catching that!

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