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December 4, 2019

Federal research faces instability

Short-term spending bill instills uncertainty among researchers.
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Congress approved a short-term, stopgap spending bill to fund the government through Dec. 20. While the continuing resolution provides crucial federal funding for public health, Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs, it still does not secure sustainable funding for NIH grant recipients and Defense Health Research Programs, including the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, at the Department of Defense (DoD).

Your colleague’s dependent on federal grants have voiced their concerns about the uncertainty and inefficiencies short-term funding creates. AGA highlighted these concerns and the additional impacts of insecure funding to congressional leaders, urging them to protect the future of medical research.

For FY 2020, AGA and the rest research community is advocating for a $2.5 billion increase in NIH funding and for the continuation of funding for Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.

Prior to the Thanksgiving recess, congressional leaders and appropriators reached an agreement on funding allocations for all 12 appropriations bills that reflects the new spending levels and increases in spending caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. Appropriators are now working around the clock to finalize the 12 overdue spending bills and bring them to the floor. Lawmakers appear optimistic that the Labor-HHS spending bill, that funds NIH, will be completed by the Dec. 20 deadline. However, the increase in defense spending has become a point of contention for both sides of the aisle due to its affiliation with the President’s plan to build a border wall and continues to jeopardize future appropriations negotiations that would fund the government long-term.

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