As Congress continues to debate a continuing resolution, the U.S. House of Representatives has begun to push a piecemeal approach to funding the government. In other words, individual bills would be passed to fund specific federal agencies while others would remain without appropriations and continue to be shut down. Due to the immense consequences of shutting down the National Institutes of Health for research and patient care, the House will soon debate the Research for Lifesaving Cures Act, which restores appropriations for the NIH at fiscal 2013 levels through December. At ASBMB, we reject this proposal as it singles out only one federal science funding agency and does not take into account the several other agencies that contribute to scientific progress.
In a statement, Benjamin Corb, public affairs director for ASBMB, said:
Although the NIH is the largest federal investor in biomedical research, other agencies including the National Science Foundation, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy also make critical investments in research that lead to breakthroughs improving the quality of life and well-being of Americans.
In addition, the bill continues funding at the sequestration level, which has been detrimental for scientific research, as outlined by a survey released by ASBMB. Corb continues:
Furthermore, this bill locks in the post-sequester FY13 funding level for the remainder of FY14. The sequester of science funding has critically damaged the ability of researchers to advance their areas of study. As was shown in a survey conducted by ASBMB of non-defense discretionary funded scientists titled ‘Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity,’ deep cuts to federal investments in research are tearing at the fabric of the nation’s scientific enterprise and have a minimal impact on overcoming our national debt and deficit problems. I hope leaders from both parties in Washington review these findings and join with scientists to say ‘enough is enough.’
ASBMB supports a clean CR that restores the functions of the entire government including all federal science funding agencies, not just those being used for political leverage. Furthermore, ASBMB also supports a reverse of sequestration to increase funding levels to continue to advance scientific progress.