publication date: Dec. 19, 2014

Research Advocates Prepare to Face Republican-led Congress

The 113th Congress staggered through its final spending bill, approving $1.1 trillion in a massive “cromnibus” Dec. 13, keeping most of the federal government funded through September 2015, and locking in a half-percent increase for NIH and NCI in FY2015.

Biomedical research advocates bemoaned the modest increase in funding—$150 million for NIH and $27 million for NCI—and questioned Congress’s commitment to scientific progress (The Cancer Letter, Dec. 12).

“In times of constrained funding, any increase is both welcomed and appreciated. But a half a percent increase when biomedical research inflation is two percent is not enough to sustain even current progress,” said Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, a coalition that represents 27 scientific societies and over 120,000 researchers worldwide.

The 2013 and 2014 fiscal years were years of dysfunction for the federal government.

Congress regularly log-jammed on funding issues: by activating the sequestration set in the Budget Control Act, which cut the federal budget by 5.1 percent; and by forcing a government shutdown in October 2013.

Lawmakers consistently failed to jump through the hoops of the regular appropriations process, lumping funding bills into large omnibuses and enacting emergency continuing resolutions as stopgap measures to create opportunities for fiery debates.

The time has come, advocates said, for the incoming Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress to legislate and appropriate in an orderly fashion.

“Congress continues to completely shock me with how dysfunctional … Continue reading 40-47 Research Advocates Prepare to Face Republican-led Congress

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