Spotlight

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...

Legislative Alerts

FY18 Funding Should Support American Health, Economic Growth, and Global Competitiveness

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 funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)

The proposed cuts to the NIH and NSF (21% and 11% respectively) would undermine our nation’s robust research enterprise; jeopardizing our ability to understand, prevent, treat, and cure disease.  The scientific innovation economy led by NIH is the engine that is driving advances in genetics, neuroscience, and cell biology. It is no accident that for the past half century the U.S. has been the world leader in making rapid progress in biomedical discovery and is the home to so many biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

The funding increases in FY16 and FY17 that Congress passed for NIH and NSF gives patients, their families, and researchers renewed hope for the future, and will help ensure the success of America’s medical research enterprise and leadership. Medical research is facing a moment of exceptional opportunities. Federally funded scientific research is enabling the understanding of the remarkable complexity of human biology and disease. There is no other way to have reached our current level of understanding, and no other way to extend that understanding further other than through public investment.

“The promise has never been greater for Americans suffering from serious illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, depression, and Parkinson's,” said CLS Chairman Keith Yamamoto, “and it is federally funded researchers who will determine disease mechanisms and solve our nation’s most puzzling health problems.” However, without robust public investment for the medical research enterprise there will be fewer chances to find treatments or understand chronic and debilitating diseases.

Rather than undermine our investment in the national treasure of NIH, the CLS urges Congress to strengthen its commitment to medical research with an increase of at least $2 billion for NIH in FY 2018. Stable, sustained increases are necessary for maintaining a vigorous portfolio of basic, translational, and clinical studies, and for training the next generation of brilliant investigators.

The CLS applauds Congress for recent investments in NIH and NSF in the FY16 and FY17 budgets and through the 21st Century Cures Act. We look forward to working together to advance our national investment in scientific research.

The Coalition for the Life Sciences Applauds Congress’ Support for Life Sciences

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 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a FY17 funding level of $34 billion. This funding is critical to support the promising studies that serve to improve health. Additionally, it builds on the $2 billion increase provided in FY2016. For too long, NIH faced stagnant funding. These recent increases provide researchers the stability needed for future breakthroughs in human biology and disease.

National Science Foundation

Congress also increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF received an additional $9 million for a FY17 budget of $7.5 billion. Congress has been debating revamping the NSF’s merit review process in order to prioritize scientific disciplines. We are pleased to see that this budget agreement ensures that the NSF retains the flexibility to respond nimbly to emerging areas of scientific interest.

Centers for Disease Control

Also gaining through this spending bill would be the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which could get a $22 million boost, to $7.3 billion. The CDC still struggles to fund the necessary resources for new and emerging threats but this increase is certainly a step forward.

Food and Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received a nominal, and not unexpected, cut to the agency. This cut was a result of drug and medical device industries fee negotiations. Congress believes the FDA can absorb this cut through administrative savings and, thus, continue to meet its existing responsibilities. The CLS believes the FDA is in need of increased resources in order to do its job properly.

The CLS understands and appreciates the very difficult budget decisions Congress faces. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to continue to advance the nation’s biomedical research enterprise.

Congress and the NIH Spending Bill: The beginning of a beautiful friendship?

 

It turns out, they like us, or so they say. Biomedical researchers should take note that for the second year in a row, U.S. Senate appropriators have declared funding the National Institutes of Health a national priority. In a resource-constrained environment, the Senate Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee (Labor-HHS) recommended that the NIH be provided a $2 billion increase for FY17, recommending $34 billion for FY17.

“Investments in biomedical research will lower health care costs, spur medical innovation, sustain America’s competitiveness, and help more Americans live longer, healthier lives,” declared Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), chair of the Subcommittee, “I’m proud that we are establishing a pattern of responsibly investing in groundbreaking medical research for the second year in a row.”

The measure has broad support from Democrats, making it the first bipartisan Labor-HHS appropriations bill in seven years. Ranking Member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) acknowledged, “Hard choices had to be made.”

The proposed increase includes an additional $100 million for the new Precision Medicine Initiative million-person cohort program, as well as an additional $400 million for Alzheimer’s disease research.  It also includes increases of $100 million for the BRAIN Initiative and $50 million for research to combat antimicrobial resistance. 

The bill outlines increased funding for every NIH Institute and Center. The new money is to support investments that advance science and speed the development of new therapies, diagnostics, and preventive measures, all to improve the American health. This is great news for basic scientists. This proposed funding will enable researchers throughout the U.S. to answer new support in fields such as cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, and so many other areas.

The House has not yet written its own version of the NIH bill. However, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), the chair of the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, has recently gone out of his way to state his public supportive for the NIH and pledged to include a $2 billion increase in the House bill.

“It’s terrific to see bipartisan support for biomedical research, but there’s still a long way to go before this bill gets signed into law,” warns Keith Yamamoto, chair of the CLS. “We will continue to engage Congress on this bill to ensure the best outcome for NIH-funded researchers.”

Meanwhile all eyes turn to the House to see whether biomedical research is the object of true Congressional love or just a passing fiscal fancy.