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Letter to the Hon. Harold Rogers - Prioritize Funding for National Institutes of Health

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey:

As the House works to craft appropriations legislation before the current continuing resolution expires on December 9, 2016, we write to express our strong support for increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In any forthcoming appropriations legislation for FY 2017, we urge you to work with your Senate colleagues to ensure NIH receives a funding level of no less than $34 billion, equal to the level approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, in order to maintain America's role as a global leader in biomedical research and groundbreaking medical discoveries.

On a bipartisan basis, members of the 114th Congress have repeatedly demonstrated our clear and unambiguous support for strengthening investments in NIH. We know this funding helps us push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, advance promising research and offer hope to millions of Americans suffering from heartbreaking diseases. Federal funding for this life-saving research is also a key economic driver for our nation, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and generating over $60 billion in new economic activity. It delivers a significant return on our investment today and for generations to come.

While the increase included in last year's omnibus appropriations bill was an important step, we remain concerned that federal investments in biomedical research have failed to keep pace with inflation over the last 13 years. By failing to hold NIH funding constant with other rising costs, Congress has allowed the agency's purchasing power to diminish by nearly 20 percent since 2003. As other countries' investments in research continue to grow at a far faster pace than those made by the U.S., it is more critical than ever that we act to reverse this trend.

Insufficient funding for NIH has a serious, wide-ranging impact on our nation's health and our capacity for medical innovation in the 21st century. If we are serious about breaking new ground in our understanding of complex and life-threatening conditions, then it is absolutely essential we increase funding for NIH. Simply put, we cannot hope to accelerate the development of new cures, therapies and vaccines without additional resources for research. Particularly given the significant investments in NIH approved earlier this year by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, we feel strongly that now is the time to recommit to America's long-term health and prosperity.

While we understand the difficult fiscal challenges you face, we urge you to prioritize the important role NIH plays in medical innovation and economic growth by funding the agency at an annual level of no less than $34 billion. Thank you for your consideration of this request, which will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Americans.


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