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NIH Funding Alert

ASCB Info ascbinfo at faseb.org
Tue Nov 7 15:59:57 EST 1995

     November 8, 1995
     To:       Members of the Congressional Liaison
     From:     Joint Steering Committee for Public Policy
     Re:       NIH Funding Letter-Immediate Action Needed
     In response to the current budget impasse, the
     co-chairs of the Congressional Biomedical Research
     Caucus circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter on the NIH
     budget situation.  The letter was circulated by Reps.
     George Gekas (R-PA), Bill Richardson (D-NM), and Cliff
     Stearns (R-FL) and asks that the NIH be a top priority
     during budget negotiations and be funded at the highest
     possible level for FY'96.   
     CLC members are asked to contact their Representatives
     now through December 1 to ask that they sign the "Dear
     Colleague" letter in support of increased funding for
     the NIH.  Please call the Capitol switchboard (tel:
     202/224-3121) to connect to your Representative's
     office. Ask that the Congressman/woman contact Seth
     Johnson in Congressman Gekas' office at 202/225-4315.
     The following Members have already signed the "Dear
     Colleague" letter: Porter (R-IL), Coyne (D-PA),
     Nethercutt (R-WA), Klug (R-WI), Fowler (R-FL), Clayton
     (D-NC), Pallone (D-NJ), Bentsen (D-TX), Morella (R-MD),
     Cunningham (R-CA), Clayton  (D-NC), Davis (R-VA), Fox
     (R-PA), Olver (D-MA), Maloney (D-NY), Hall (D-OH),
     DeFazio  (D-OR), Frank (D-MA), Markey (D-MA), Dellums
     (D-CA), McDermott (D-WA), Meehan (D-MA), and Dingell
     Dear Colleague:
     We are deeply concerned that the 5.7% FY'96 funding
     increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
     passed by the House may be permanently delayed by the
     application of an across the board funding formula in
     any Continuing Resolution for Appropriations (CR). 
     Under the current operating CR until Nov. 13th, the NIH
     is now funded by a 5% decease in funds from the FY'95
     funding level. 
     The NIH is a program that all parties in the budget
     negotiations-- the Administration, the House and Senate
     Appropriations Committees- -agreed was among the
     highest funding priorities for FY'96.  It is
     foreseeable that the NIH may continue to be funded at
     the reduced level of 95% of last year's funds
     throughout FY'96.  This would seriously jeopardize our
     progress in biomedical research and produce a result
     that no one supported.
     We are asking you to join us in the attached letter to
     President Clinton, Speaker Gingrich, Chairman
     Livingston, Senate Majority Leader Dole, and Chairman
     Hatfield.  Please contact Seth Johnson at 225-4315 if
     you would like to sign on to the letter.
     George Gekas, Bill Richardson, Cliff Stearns
     Excerpts of the letter to be signed by your Member of
     Congress follow:
     We are concerned about the current funding situation
     for the NIH.  The NIH.  The NIH is a world leader in
     biomedical research.  Its programs enjoy the broad
     bipartisan support of both the Congress and the
     American public.  The Administration, as well as the
     House and Senate Appropriations Committees, all
     recommended FY'96 funding increases for the NIH, but
     the current CR reduces NIH funding to 95% of the FY'95
     funding level.  This reduction is unnecessary to
     achieve a balanced budget since both the House and
     Senate Appropriations Committees recommended the NIH
     increase in the context of a seven-year balanced budget
     If the current CR's funding reduction for the NIH were
     to be continued beyond the November 13th expiration
     date in any future budget agreements, there will be
     serious consequences for the progress of biomedical
     research in the United States.  The unintended
     consequences of across-the-board funding formulas with
     no budget priority decisions threaten future research
     efforts.  Disease costs the nation billions every year
     in health care costs.  As we strive to achieve a
     balanced budget, we must adopt policies and funding
     priorities that make the most of scarce federal
     dollars.  Federal funding for biomedical research
     should be a top priority because without new strategies
     to prevent, intervene and treat diseases, health care
     costs will continue to spiral out of control.
     For example, last year the nation spent $90 billion on
     the care of the Alzheimer's patients.  Significant
     progress through biomedical research to delay the most
     debilitating aspects of a disease requiring around the
     clock nursing care would save billions of Medicare and
     Medicaid dollars every year.  An investment of one
     billion dollars in NIH research wuld be a bargain to
     save approximately $40 billion in federal health care
     costs.  Currently, we fund only $300 millioon for NIH
     research on Alzheimer's disease. Adequate funding for
     the NIH not only saves scarce federal health care
     dollars, but also provides hope and solutions to the
     victims of diabetes, heart, stroke, and other chronic
     We strongly urge you to fund the National Institutes of
     Health in any budget agreement at the highest possible
     level for FY'96, consistent with the funding priorities
     set by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees
     and the Clinton Administration.
     (signed Member of Congress) 
                    *              *              *
     For more information, contact Jim Bernstein at the ASCB
     at 301/530-7153, or Pete Farnham at the ASBMB at

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