American Society of Hematology

Take Action to Support Funding for Medical Research

2016 NIH Funding Remains Uncertain; Join ASH in the National Call to Action in Support of NIH Funding

Published on: September 16, 2015

October 1 marks the beginning of the fiscal year and the date by which congressional spending bills are to be completed. But despite efforts to restore “regular order” to the annual appropriations process, only a handful of legislative days remain until the start of the new fiscal year.

In June, for the first time in many years, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved separate versions of a fiscal year (FY) 2016 spending bill for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other public health–related programs. The Senate bill seeks $32.1 billion for NIH in FY 2016, $2 billion (6.6%) more than the FY 2015 enacted level, and $900 million more than the House bill (which seeks $31.2 billion for NIH in FY 2016). Both bills also seek to fully fund the Obama Administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative at $200 million.

However, because of the current budget caps that are in place due to the Budget Control Act of 2011, increases for important programs at NIH may come at a very high cost to other programs. With Senate Democrats threatening to filibuster all spending bills that adhere to the sequester budget caps and President Barack Obama promising to veto any spending bills adhering to the restrictive spending caps, any proposed increase for NIH is likely going to depend on a broader budget agreement to ease these budget caps. If Congress cannot reach a decision about spending bills by October 1, it has two options: 1) pass a temporary continuing resolution that extends federal agency and program funding unchanged from the current year, or 2) shut down the government until it can come to an agreement on spending.

ASH remains committed to working with Congress to replace sequestration, and ASH supports a balanced approach to deficit reduction that provides needed funding to NIH without further cuts to other important public health programs.

How You Can Help

ASH will be on Capitol Hill on September 17 as a proud sponsor of the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day and we encourage all ASH members to join us in this National Day of Action in support of NIH by contacting your members of Congress. Simply click "Take Action" below, enter your contact information on the next page, and click "Go!" If you prefer, call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to be connected to the offices of your Senators and Representative, and leave a message based on the draft letter that will appear after you click “Take Action.” All members of Congress, including those who support funding increases for NIH, need to hear from their constituents about the negative impact that cuts in funding have had (and may continue to have) on hematology research. This will not take much time, but will have a huge impact.

If you have any questions, please contact ASH Legislative Advocacy Manager Tracy Roades.

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