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Action Alerts

Join Your Hematology Colleagues to Take Action in Support of NIH Funding

Unable to complete work on annual spending bills before the start of fiscal year (FY) 2021 on October 1, 2020, Congress was forced to pass a short term funding extension, or continuing resolution (CR), at the end of September to keep federal agencies and programs operational. The CR, which was signed into law by President Trump, keeps the federal government – including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – funded at FY 2020 levels through December 11.

Enactment of the CR provides congressional leaders with an additional ten weeks beyond the October 1 start of FY 2021 to reach an agreement on long-term spending levels for all federal government agencies. Over the summer, the House of Representatives passed most of its FY 2021 appropriations bills, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) bill, which seeks to provide $42 billion in annual appropriations for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in FY 2021 (a $500 million increase over the agency’s current funding level), as well as an additional $5 billion in emergency appropriations for NIH to be used to offset costs related to reductions in laboratory productivity resulting from COVID-19-interruptions or shutdowns of research!

While the Senate did not consider of any of its spending bills before the start of the new fiscal year, the Senate Appropriations Committee did release draft versions of its bills on November 10. The bills are unlikely to ever be considered by the full Senate but will be used as a starting point for negotiations on an omnibus spending bill with House negotiators. The Senate proposal seeks $43.68 billion in annual funding for NIH, a $2 billion increase of over FY 2020 levels.

ASH is committed to protecting public health and research funding and joined over 350 organizations and institutions in the research community earlier this year in recommending at least $44.7 billion for the NIH in FY 2021, a $3 billion (7.2 percent) increase over the NIH’s current program funding level. This funding level would allow for meaningful growth above inflation in the base budget and would expand NIH’s capacity to support promising science in all disciplines across the agency. Additionally, the Society continues to work with members of the research community to urge Congress to provide emergency funding to U.S. researchers who have been impacted by the pandemic and has supported efforts to secure $26 billion in emergency relief for federal science agencies, including NIH, to enable graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and Principal Investigators to complete work that was disrupted by COVID-19, or extend the training or employment of researchers on an existing research project for up to two years because of the disruption of the job market.

Congressional negotiators will be working behind the scenes between now and December 11 to reach an agreement on FY 2021 spending levels for NIH and other important federal programs, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Your legislators need to hear from YOU about the need to protect sustained and robust federal funding for medical research and public health programs. Simply fill out the form below and click “send email” to quickly send a message to your elected officials urging them to fund the NIH at $44.7 billion. in FY 2021.This will not take much time, but it can have a big impact how your elected officials vote.