ASM Leads Call for Robust Science Funding and Emergency Relief

Dec. 8, 2020

On Dec. 8, 2020, the American Society for Microbiology spearheaded the following letter with 173 signatories urging Congress to act quickly and pass the FY 21 appropriations bills.

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:

The undersigned organizations and institutions, representing hundreds of thousands of individuals and entities working in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics, urge you to complete work on the fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills without delay. The disruption created by short and long-term continuing resolutions (CRs) has severe consequences for science and research. The public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19 further compound the negative effects of unpredictable funding; as such, in addition to finalizing the annual funding levels for science agencies and programs, we urge enactment of emergency research relief funding to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal investments across more than two dozen defense and nondefense agencies provide the lifeblood for research, discovery, innovation and development in the United States, driving one of the most powerful engines for American prosperity and global leadership. Failing to complete work on the appropriations bills that fuel this engine in a timely manner impedes our ability to not only respond and recover from COVID-19, but also to address persistent and fundamental challenges such as chronic and infectious diseases, food and energy security, national security and natural disasters— all of which require advancements in science and technology fostered through federal investments.

As we continue to grapple with the pandemic, federal science and public health agencies need certainty—their activities are put at risk by disruptive, long-term CRs that stand in the way of new programming and long-term planning. Earlier this year, many researchers, students, post-docs and laboratory personnel across all scientific disciplines were forced to close facilities and suspend their work as a result of quarantine requirements. Disruptions of this magnitude have implications not only for the research workforce, but also on the process of scientific discovery. Recently released data from the Council on Governmental Relations show research output dropped between 20 – 40 percent in the first 6 months of the pandemic with a potential impact in the tens of billions of dollars across the research enterprise. Scientific research cannot be turned on and off like a faucet, and ramping back up after a closure will take time and can be a costly endeavor.

We call on you to work in a bipartisan manner and without delay to complete work on the FY 2021 spending bills and provide emergency research relief funding so that we can not only move beyond COVID-19, but also continue to lead the world in science and innovation and improve the health, security and economic strength of our nation. Our organizations and our members stand ready to work with you toward this goal. Thank you for considering our request.

Author: ASM Advocacy

ASM Advocacy
ASM Advocacy is making it easy and providing opportunities for members to advocate for evidence-based scientific policy.