The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) calls on Congress to reject President Trump’s FY18 budget proposal released today. The budget request proposes draconian and careless cuts that will devastate the scientific enterprise by slashing...

The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) would like to thank Congress for its commitment to the federally funded life science enterprise.

National Institutes of Health

The CLS is pleased to see that Congress supported a $2...

NIH and NSF Fact Sheets and Talking Points

Action Statements and Talking Points

 Action Statement:

The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) is grateful to Congress for their past support and extraordinary investment in medical research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

It is in the interest of our nation to support the NIH and the NSF. Members of Congress should oppose any efforts that weaken the biomedical enterprise.

Talking Points:

I.  NIH funding is key to enhancing the health and well-being of all Americans through new treatments and cures.

  • In 1950, a child born with a congenital heart defect had only a 20% chance of surviving. Today, most children who have complex heart defects survive to adulthood and can enjoy active, productive lives.
  • U.S. cancer death rates are now falling about 1% each year, with each 1% decline saving our nation about $500 billion.
  • It is now possible to design drugs that go right to the vulnerable target of a disorder, thanks to the research produced from the Human Genome Project.

II.  Funding for NIH and the NSF strengthens the U.S. economy.

  • It has been estimated that every $1 of NIH funding generates about $2.21 in local economic growth.
  • NIH and NSF funding forms  key foundations for innovation and industries like biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical development, and more.
  • More than 80% of the NIH’s funding is awarded through almost 50,000 competitive grants to more than 430,000 researchers at over 2,800 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions in every state and around the world.
  • Over 2,000 small business ventures are funded by NIH through the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR). 

III.  Flat funding of the NIH puts a generation of science and scientists at risk1

  • Promising young investigators even at premier academic research institutions are having a hard time getting their research funded. That research could save lives.
  • Junior investigators are competing for limited resources with their well-established mentors. The result: junior researchers are getting a smaller piece of the NIH funding pie. In 1990, they received 29% of R01 grants (the premier NIH research grant), but in 2007, they received 25% of R01s. Further, while the success rate has dropped for all R01 applicants, it is particularly low—only 18%—for first-time applicants. Junior investigators—who bring energy, creativity, and enthusiasm to the world of discovery—appear to be having the hardest time surviving in the current system.
  • If young investigators are lost from the pipeline, we soon won’t have the scientific brain power that we need to move forward.
  • We can lose a generation of researchers in just 5 to 10 years. We don’t have to lose 50,000 researchers, just 50 really good ones. Once it happens, we won’t get those people back.

IV.  Our standing as the world leader in biomedical research will be compromised2.

  • The United States has stood firmly at the forefront of the life sciences revolution, with this leadership built upon a solid commitment to robust and sustained federal investment in biomedical research and development.
  • U.S. government’s investment in life sciences research over the next half-decade will be barely half of China’s in actual dollars and roughly one-quarter of China’s level on a per-GDP basis.
  • Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Japan, Norway, and Sweden all have significantly increased in their government support for medical-science R&D.
  • Losing U.S. life sciences competitiveness will include diminished employment, lost economic growth, and loss to citizens of the benefits of innovative new drugs and therapies.
  • The United Kingdom recognizes these realities. The U.K. is making the difficult choice to expand its investments in biomedical research, even in the face of daunting deficits.

V. General points

  • If we are to address the health challenges of an aging and increasingly diverse population, and remain a vibrant force in the global economy, America needs more investment in medical research.
  • Continued, bold support for biomedical research holds the key to revolutionary new avenues of research that holds the promise for new early screenings devices and new treatments for disease.
  • Discovery and innovation work best when funding is predictable and stable.

Send any questions or comments to Lynn Marquis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

1Information from "A Broken Pipeline,"

2"Leadership in Decline", United for Medical Research


Status of the FY15 budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation

Sequestration update
In December 2013, Congress reached a two-year budget agreement that restored most of the funds lost by sequester. The agreement delivered $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and nondefense programs.

Under the agreement, the NIH received a $1 billion increase bringing the annual funding level for FY14 to $29.9 billion. This amount did not fully restore the cuts lost to sequestration; it still represents $714 million less than what was enacted prior to sequestration in FY12.

Information on sequestration can be found on the CLS website.

Appropriations for FY15
Every year Congress must pass 12 appropriations bills. These bills fund all of the federal domestic programs (not programs such as Social Security or Medicare) including the NSF and NIH. All appropriations bills must be signed into law by October 1, the beginning of the federal fiscal year. If an appropriations bill does not meet this deadline, Congress must pass an extension bill that provides funding at the previous year's level, known as a Continuing Resolution or a CR.

The Labor/Health and Human Services/Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations bill funds the NIH. The Labor/HHS bill is the largest non-defense appropriations bill and one of the most controversial.

The Senate Labor/HHS Subcommittee bill recommends funding the NIH at $30.5 billion, an increase of $605 million. The full Senate has not yet voted on this bill.

The House Labor/HHS Committee has not debated its Labor/HHS appropriations bill. It is expected that a Labor/HHS bill will not be considered until after the elections in November.

The NSF is funded under the appropriations bill called Commerce/Justice/Science or CJS. The House passed the CJS bill with a proposed funding level of $7.4 billion for the NSF, which is $232 million above FY14. The proposed Senate CJS bill provides $7.2 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), an increase of $83 million over fiscal year 2014. The full Senate has not yet voted on this bill.


Status of the FY14 budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation

Readers should note sequestration cuts—across the board cuts in all federal programs—went into effect in March 2013. This means NIH and NSF saw a 5% across the board cut to all their programs.  Unless a deal is struck to replace sequestration, all federal programs will continue to experience draconian cuts for the next nine budget years. Information on sequestration can be found on the CLS website.

Administration’s Budget Proposal

On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, President Obama submitted to Congress his FY14 budget request. The proposed budget suggests funding the NIH at $31.3 billion and the NSF at $7.6 billion. President Obama’s budget also calls for a repeal of sequestration. 

Congress’ Budget Proposals

The House and the Senate introduced and passed vastly different budget resolutions.  The budget resolutions do not need to be a uniformed document before Congress begins the budget priority setting for the next fiscal year. The priority setting is done through the annual appropriations bills—or spending bills—which do have to be agreed to and signed by the President. The budget resolution is more like a guiding document.

Here’s how the House and Senate budget resolutions differ:[1]

The House FY14 Budget Resolution proposes to balance the federal budget in 10 years without raising additional taxes. Among the ways it proposes to do so are by extending the limits on discretionary spending for an additional two years (through FY23), repealing the health care law, and turning Medicare into a voucher support system. The plan, developed by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), would limit domestic discretionary spending in FY14 to $414 billion, which is more than $50 billion less than it would be under both the Budget Control Act (BCA) cap and the sequester. Defense programs would receive $552 billion, which reports would essentially wipe out the effects of the sequester.

The Senate FY14 Budget Resolution, in sharp contrast to the House budget plan, would raise tax revenues by about $975 billion and cut spending by about the same amount over the next 10 years. The Democratic plan, which does not aim to balance the federal budget, also calls for replacing the sequester with a mix of different spending cuts and tax increases, and adds $100 billion in new spending on infrastructure and job training. Among other savings, the package calls for reducing defense spending by $240 billion over 10 years and reducing nondefense discretionary spending by $142 billion over that period.

Appropriations for FY14

The House released its funding allocations for FY14. There are 12 annual appropriations bills and each appropriations measure has its own allotment. The subcommittee that oversees the spending cannot spend above the limit provided to it by the House leadership.

The House Labor/Health and Human Services/Education (Labor/HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NIH received a sum of $121.8 billion. The $121.8 billion spending limit for the Labor/HHS Subcommittee is a $28 billion reduction from the FY 2013 sequestration level. A reduction this large (18.6%), if implemented, would mean additional significant cuts for NIH and other programs under the Labor/HHS Subcommittee’s jurisdiction. If one assumes an 18.6% cut for all programs this would mean a cut of nearly $5.4 billion for NIH in FY14. By way of comparison, the proposed FY14 Labor/HHS bill is $42 billion less than the FY10 total. 

Meanwhile the Commerce/Justice/Science Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the NSF received $46 billion.  This is about $5 billion less than the FY13 allocation.

The Senate has not distributed their allocations, though the allocation are not expected to be as draconian as the House figures.  Coming to an agreement on funding levels will be difficult and we could once again see Congress passing multiple continuing resolutions or threatening government shutdowns.

[1] AAU Weekly Wrap-Up, March 22, 2013



Medical Research Funding for FY13


The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) is grateful to Congress for recognizing the importance of the nation’s investment in medical research.  CLS urges Congress to continue its historic support for biomedical research by not passing any additional cuts that would further impair the current state of research.

Readers should note that sequestration is a very real threat to the research enterprise. Most of the appropriations work (see updates below) is finished until early in 2013. Yet sequestration must be acted on prior to January 2013 or draconian cuts will be imposed on the whole research enterprise. Information on sequestration can be found on the CLS website.

Status of the FY13 National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) Appropriations


  • The House Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Committee (Labor-HHS Committee) released its FY13 spending bill. The draft House bill freezes funding for the NIH for FY13 and recommends funding at $30.6 billion. This matches the President’s request.
  • The full Senate Appropriations Committee increased NIH funding for FY13 by $100 million over the President’s request for a funding level of $30.7 billion.


  • The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their versions of the FY13 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill, the bill that funds the NSF.
  • The House recommended $7.3 billion for FY13,an increase of $299.4 million or 4.3% over FY12.
  • The Senate recommended $7.2 billion, an increase of $240.0 million or 3.4% over FY12

Continuing Resolution

  • Since the House and Senate have not finished work on the annual appropriations bills, including the bills that fund the NIH and the NSF, Congress will need to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded on Oct. 1 (the start of the new fiscal year).
  • House and Senate leaders have reached an agreement on a CR to fund the government through March 2013, avoiding a shutdown prior to the election. Meantime, the appropriations process will grind to a halt for the time being. The CR will be voted on in the coming weeks.
  • The CR will have little effect on NIH, which was already slated for a flat budget in FY13 by Congress and the Administration.
  • NSF will lose out on the recommended budget increase while operating under the CR.