President Trump is proposing to cut the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget by $6 billion – or about one-fifth of the total agency budget. A cut to the NIH budget will almost certainly impact funding for biomedical research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
Bipartisan members of Congress are circulating a letter that opposes this cut, and, instead, recommends that funding for the NIH should be at $2 billion above the 2017 level to adjust for inflation and the rising costs of biomedical research. The letter requests that the NIH be funded at $36 billion for 2018.
The letter describes the members’ value for the “critical role played by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in better health outcomes, job creation, education, and economic growth.
“At a time of unprecedented scientific opportunity, it is critical that the United States make forward-thinking investments that promote medical breakthroughs as well as our international leadership in biomedical research.”
The NIH is the largest and most important potential source of biomedical research funding for ME. In an editorial, ME activist, Jennie Spotila, describes how she sees the proposed NIH cut affecting ME.
“Funding for the new Collaborative Research Centers is set aside in this year’s budget. But all bets are off going forward. Like many other RFAs, the one for ME Centers explicitly states, “Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.” So it is possible that future years of funding could be cut or eliminated. It’s common sense to conclude that if NIH’s budget is cut by 18% next year, every program and RFA and grant pool will be severely cut. NIH will make far fewer grants, and that will hit everybody hard.
“ME research is stigmatized now. ME research is on a starvation diet now. What happens in any system when resources become more scarce? The weakest members of the system lose. And they lose hard,” writes Spotila.
“Whatever your political views or affiliations, whatever you think of the current administration, if you want to protect research funding then you have to make your voice heard.”
Find your House representative:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ You should call the D.C. office, not the district office.