Support for the NIH in 2013
Hearings are currently underway in the Congress regarding NIH funding for 2013. Francis Collins, NIH Director, was on The Hill Tuesday, the 20th, vigorously advocating against a proposed 8% budget cut for next year. AST, via our skilled Washington representatives and public policy committee, has already played a key role helping drum up support for additional NIH funding. We are an original signee of a letter to Congressmen Rehberg and DeLauro and Senators Harkin and Shelby from the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, and have signed on to a joint letter with ASN and ASPN (among other parties), advocating a very specific, well-thought-out goal of “at least” $32 billion in NIH funding for next year. Bill Applegate and Chris Rorick are conducting meetings daily on Capitol Hill to educate, generate, and secure support for initiatives including a recent letter led by Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and signed by 151 Members of Congress urging a 2013 funding level of at least $32 billion.
I have received numerous requests (in both my AST and UAB roles) for AST to sign on to various other letters with other approaches to raising NIH funding. While our mandate is clearly to be as supportive of increased research funding as possible, we want to remain consistent and strategic in our official endorsements. Thus, please know we regard this as an important issue, and, though we encourage you to approach your own senators and representatives, as well as sign on to petitions and letters where appropriate, AST cannot join each and every initiative.
Robert S. Gaston