ASM Applauds Proposal to Increase Funds for Public Health and Medical Research in FY 2020

May 1, 2019

Congress and the White House Must Reach a Budget Agreement if the Proposal is to Become a Reality

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) applauds House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS-Education) and Related Agencies Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) for proposing $41.1 billion (a $2 billion increase) for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $8.3 billion (a $921 million increase) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Subcommittee’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 bill. ASM also commends the bill’s strong support for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, global health security and other preparedness programs. The reality, however, is that this meritorious proposal cannot become reality under current spending caps mandated under the Budget Control Act (BCA). 

This proposal reflects the Subcommittee’s bipartisan commitment to prioritizing public health programs and medical research among many competing budgetary priorities. It further signifies a categorical rejection of the short-sighted cuts to these agencies proposed earlier this year by the Administration.  Now we need Congress and the White House to work together and negotiate a budget agreement that raises the caps on so-called discretionary spending. Funding for critical fundamental science, medical research, and public health programs will be decimated in FY 2020 if these programs are subjected to the BCA-mandated, draconian spending levels that are tens of billions below current funding levels.

Federally-funded research has proven health, economic, and global security benefits for the United States. Complementing the research programs are the public health programs that put science into action at the state and local levels, and around the world when infectious disease outbreaks occur.  We are heartened by the efforts in the House of Representatives to deem spending levels that allow for a continued investment in science, research and public health programs. However, these efforts will be rendered meaningless without a new budget agreement. 

ASM and its more than 30,000 members look forward to working with Chairwoman DeLauro, Rep. Cole, members of the Subcommittee, and their Senate colleagues in the coming months to secure an increase for the CDC and the NIH in FY 2020 that builds upon the work this Congress has done for the past four years. It is our hope that Congress will reach a bipartisan, bicameral budget agreement this year that will lift the spending caps and allow for continued robust, sustained, and predictable increases for these and other priority programs that advance the microbial sciences, save lives from infectious diseases, and ensure our global health security.