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ACE Urges Support for National Institutes of Health as HHS Secretary Defends Administration’s FY 2018 Budget

June 14, 2017

Ripon College lab

Tom Price Will Appear Before Senate Appropriations Committee on June 15

​ACE sent a letter yesterday to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, expressing strong opposition to the Trump administration’s proposed $7.2 billion spending cut for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for FY 2018.

Price is scheduled to appear before the Senate appropriations committee Thursday to discuss the administration’s spending plans for his agency, part of the overall budget request unveiled May 23 for the upcoming fiscal year. The proposed reduction for NIH is coupled with massive cuts at many other research agencies, with early analysis indicating an overall cut to research funding of 17 percent.

The president’s budget also seeks to find savings at NIH by capping facilities and administrative costs on grants at 10 percent. Coverage of these costs enables institutions to build and maintain state-of-the-art laboratories and other infrastructure vital to supporting research. (See "How Threats to Indirect Research Payments Could Make Universities Less Willing to Gamble on Science," The Chronicle of Higher Education.)

“It is not an accident that the United States is the world’s leader in medical research and innovation,” wrote ACE Senior Vice President Terry W. Hartle. “Cuts on the order proposed in the budget request would undermine this progress, and result in a competitive disadvantage with countries such as China and India, which have prioritized investments in medical and scientific research . . . proposals to undercut these critical efforts are at best short-sighted, and at worst, irrevocable.”

The NIH continues to have strong bipartisan support in Congress. The FY 2017 omnibus appropriations measure approved last month​​​ provided $2 billion in additional funding for NIH research, rejecting a proposed cut by the Trump administration. Forty Senate Democrats and fifteen Senate Republicans, led by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), followed up with a letter May 24 to Senate appropriators requesting continuation of this strong commitment to NIH funding in FY 2018.

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