Call to Action: Support Funding for the NIH

April 26, 2017

Dramatic proposed reductions in NIH funding could halt all new medical research. Please contact your Members of Congress and urge them to oppose these reductions and seek increases.

BACKGROUND

The Federal Government’s spending authority (budget) expires on April 28. The President proposed dramatic reductions in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget for the remainder of 2017 and for 2018. For the remainder of this year, the President has proposed a $1.2 billion cut (nearly 4%) and for 2018 the president is proposing an additional $5.8 billion reduction (nearly 20 percent). These cuts would reduce the NIH’s budget to below its 2003 level. The proposal also contradicts the intent of the bipartisan $2 billion increase Congress provided to NIH in 2016-and a similar amount approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last summer.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT

Because research usually takes many years, these cuts mean that the NIH will not be able to start or fund new research (unless it cancels ongoing studies) for a very long time.

WHAT TO SAY TO YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

If you are calling your Members of Congress (MOC), keep your message short and urge them to support expanded funding for the NIH. Tell them it’s important to patients and for research jobs in their State or District. You can add gravitas to your communication by getting data on the amount the NIH spent in the jurisdictions of your MOCs by clicking here.

If you are going to email them, we encourage you to cut, paste and customize the following message to them:

As your constituent, I am writing to urge you to provide a much-needed increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017 and for 2018.

The NIH is the world's premier medical research institution. It drives our knowledge in health science forward in the hope of finding cures and improving treatments for some of our country's most pressing health problems-from cancer to heart disease to Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, for more than a decade, congressional appropriations to the NIH have failed to keep up with inflation. As a result, the NIH's purchasing power has diminished by more than 20%. NIH is losing a generation of researchers due to the lack of career opportunities, and some senior investigators are leaving research altogether-all of which undermines our country’s investment in science.

As a nation, we must invest in our future. The NIH is propelling us to that future –one in which there will be scientific discoveries to treat the diseases and illnesses that challenge our world. Cancer is one of those challenges, and under the Cancer Moonshot initiative, NIH has an opportunity to dramatically accelerate efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Imaging has a fundamental role in the Cancer Moonshot, but funding is key. Only by making the funding investment in NIH as well as to the NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, will we take this important step forward on imaging and cancer.

Discoveries made by federally supported researchers extends and improves the lives of Americans. These breakthroughs contribute to the development of new therapies, the commercialization of products and technologies, and the creation of high-paying jobs in biotechnology and other sectors. Those contributions will not happen without robust federal investment in NIH.

On behalf of all of your constituents-including patients, physicians, scientists, and manufacturers-who depend on the NIH for its support of innovative and interdisciplinary research, thank you for your consideration of this important issue.

HOW TO CONTACT YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES

Your Senators are easy to find by clicking here then calling their Washington Office and/or email them by clicking on their web page. Note that most will ask you to fill out a quick form that just makes sure that you are a constituent and gives you the option of signing up for their emailed newsletters.

Representatives may be found by clicking here. For extra impact, check here to see if your Representative signed a Congressional sign-on letter supporting NIH funding. If they signed it, thank them for their support and encourage them to keep up the good fight. If they didn’t sign it, it’s fine to say you were disappointed they didn’t sign the letter-but say that you still hope they can be supportive.

YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THIS EFFORT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED

Thank you for supporting your profession and the patients it serves!