maintain a strong commitment to funding for the NIH.” Twelve Republican House members join Brian Bilbray (R-CA), the author of the House letter, in asking the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education to avoid deep cuts to NIH’s budget.
Together, these two letters present evidence of bipartisanship in an overtly partisan environment where fiscal policy has become politically charged. This is a positive indication that both sides, Republican and Democrat, agree on health research as a priority that must be protected. Both letters cite the dual role health research can serve in the economy; not only does it advance the health and well-being of Americans, but it is critical in our efforts to strengthen the economy and create opportunities for innovation. Lastly, the letters reflect the growing consensus that scientific and medical research are necessary for American competitiveness.
The consequences of reduced funding are clear: fewer postdoctoral positions, increased competition for available resources, and a decline in the supply of young researchers will further erode American preeminence in the sciences. Against this background, the letters reflect a recognition that science and health research, and NIH funding in particular, bring multiple and long-term gains requiring sustained investment by the government.
The timing of the letters-the House version in late May, and the Senate’s in early June- suggest that critical agency funding decisions are close at hand. Make sure your representatives know that cutting medical research is not in our nation’s interest.