American Society of Hematology

White House Seeking Increased Funding for NIH

Published on: July 21, 2011

Although most news leaking from negotiations to raise the nation's debt ceiling and reduce the federal deficit have focused on potential cuts to federal spending, a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal discusses spending priorities identified by the Administration.

Citing sources, the author of the piece, award-winning columnist Paul Gigot, notes that the Obama administration has proposed a $10 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over the next 10 years as part of its negotiations with Congress. While his views on the spending priorities of the Administration are his own, Mr. Gigot provides important information demonstrating support from the administration for increased NIH funding. It remains unclear if these spending priorities will remain in a final agreement, but it is encouraging that the administration is advocating this increase for NIH at a time when dramatic cuts to other agencies are under consideration.

Meanwhile, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers has indicated that consideration of the Labor-HHS-Education bill, which establishes annual funding levels for federal public health programs including NIH and had tentatively been scheduled to be considered by the subcommittee on July 26 and by the full committee on August 2, would likely be postponed until the House comes back from its August break. The delay is blamed on the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations. The House Appropriations Committee has thus far approved nine of the 12 annual spending bills, with the full House approving five of those bills (Agriculture, Defense, Energy & Water, Homeland Security, and Military Construction-VA). The Senate has approved only one bill thus far: Military Construction-VA.

As Congress continues to formulate the details of the FY 2012 budget and pressure mounts to cut federal spending, funding for the NIH is in increasing jeopardy. All Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents about the need to adequately fund NIH. To contact your representative and senators quickly and easily, please use the email template offered online at the ASH Advocacy Center. We encourage you to personalize the letter, providing examples of why NIH funding is important to you and your research, and in as little as three clicks of a computer mouse you can send a message to Congress. ASH strongly encourages all Grassroots Network members to participate in future campaigns.

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