The U.S. House passed the fiscal 2015 budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., by a vote of 219 to 205. This budget, touted by Rep. Ryan as the “Path to Prosperity,” proposed serious budget cuts that would drop funding for the National Institutes of Health by as much as 1/3 by FY24. These devastating cuts would harm the progress of the American science research enterprise, resulting in the possible loss of an entire generation of scientists and a delay in the discovery of cures to diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. In addition, investments in science funding agencies drive innovation and produce products that boost the economy.
Unfortunately, 21 Republicans that supported the NIH by signing onto a Dear Colleague letter asking for $32 billion for the NIH also voted for the Ryan budget. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology released a statement calling for these lawmakers to explain their contradictory actions. The members that signed onto the Dear Colleague letter but voted for the Ryan budget were Reps. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, Chris Collins, R-N.Y., Chris Smith, R-N.J., Dan Benishek, R-Mich., Dana Rohrabacher, R-Cali., Duncan Hunter, R-Cali., Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., Mike Coffman, R-Colo., Mike Kelly, R-Penn., Pete Olson, R-Texas, Pete King, R-N.Y., Shelley Capito, R-W.V., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, Tim Murphy, R-Penn., Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., Reid Ribble, R-Wisc., Andy Barr, R-Ky., Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan.
However, there is still some bipartisan support for the NIH. Of the 12 Republicans that opposed the Ryan budget, two signed onto the NIH Dear Colleague letter. The ASBMB thanks Reps. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., and David McKinley, R-W.Va., for supporting the NIH by voting against the Ryan budget. The ASBMB encourages Congress to pass a budget that eliminates sequestration and restores the NIH and other federal science funding agencies to levels that will allow the American research enterprise to thrive.
Now is the time for you to take action as well. Email or call your local Congressional offices to express your concerns about the budget and how budget cuts are leading to the erosion of American science.
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