The results of the election have likely left you with questions and concerns. Science was not an issue raised during the campaign, so as scientists and science advocates we are left wondering, what next? No one has answers for you at this time.
The CLS prepared for the transition of power by issuing a report to the new administration, “Vision and Pathway for NIH: Recommendations for the New Administration.” You can download the report at www.nihvp.org. Our goal is that the new administration will adopt and support many of the ideas proposed in this report, including appointing immediately a new NIH and NCI Directors to steer the agency.
The CLS cannot do it alone. We need you—scientists and scientific advocates—to contact Members of Congress to remind them about the value of biomedical research. We all need to be vigilant in the coming years to make sure science—generally—and biological science—specifically—maintain the support seen in Congress in recent years.
Even as we look ahead to what 2017 and beyond may bring, we still have unfinished business in 2016. Congress has returned to Washington to finish work on Appropriations bills that will fund the federal government, including the NIH and NSF, for 2017. The CLS was concerned to learn that the House is planning a continuing resolution that would fund the NIH and NSF at FY16 levels through March 31st, so that the new Congress can decide in the middle of the fiscal year on the appropriation for this fiscal year. This scenario will create further uncertainty in the scientific enterprise.
Additionally, the 21st Century Cures Act that seeks to accelerate new treatments and cures and fund the BRAIN initiative, Precision Medicine Initiative, and the Cancer Moonshot needs to pass before the end of 2016. Effective prevention strategies and new treatments born out of promising, novel research and innovation are needed to limit the growing burden of disease. The 21st Century Cures Act takes important steps toward fostering the delivery of innovative, safe, and effective treatments and cures for patients facing devastating illnesses.
Please write your elected officials and ask that they pass an omnibus appropriations bill for this year rather than a continuing resolution and the Cures bill. The letter (below) is available for you to edit and sign, and it will automatically be emailed to your Members of Congress. Also, I encourage you to call the office of your Member of Congress. You can find the contact information at this site. Your voice matters.