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Action-A-Day: 4/11/17 Support Funding for the National Institutes of Health

ACTION: Support the NIH (National Institute of Health) and require Proper Budget oversight.

1). Call your US Representative and your Senators to push them for realistic budgetary cuts, while protecting Medical Science which is vital to US interests worldwide. Urge them to support full funding of the NIH.

SAMPLE SCRIPT:  Representative _______________ or Senator________________.  Please use your leverage to preserve funding for the NIH.  This vital government agency has saved lives worldwide by funding more than 300,000 scientific research projects and employing more than 400,000 people, all while contributing to the health and well being of every American.

2). Read-up on the work of the NIH so you can personally defend its usefulness and necessity.

3). Attend the March for Science on April 15, 2017.

The budget proposed by #45 suggests cutting funding to the NIH by $5.8 billion. This is an 18% reduction from 2017, and would go into effect for fiscal year 2018.  He has also proposed cutting $1.2 billion immediately for the remainder of fiscal year 2017.  These cuts would specifically impact funding for programs of the NIH in these areas:
---  Teen Pregnancy and Prevention programs
---  The National Science Foundation
---  The Environmental Protection Agency

The NIH is primarily tasked with finding cures for diseases and advancing technology.  Approximately 10% of their budget is spent on administrative costs.  And another 10% goes to its own research.  The remaining 80% is distributed in the form of competitive grants to over 300,000 scientists and researchers at over 2500 universities, medical facilities and other institutions worldwide.

In December 2016, Congress voted with bipartisan support to increase NIH funding by $4.8 billion over the next five years.  The research shows that funding has been steadily decreasing, while costs of doing research have been increasing.  For example, since the year 2000, more than 30 percent of NIH grant applications were approved. Today, it’s approximately 17 percent. And the less money there is to go around, the fewer projects get funded. If the Trump cuts go through, it’ll likely mean even fewer worthy projects can be funded. 

The rationale given for these cuts is "waste" in the form of administrative costs and in indirect costs associated with overhead costs.  The government accountability office has concluded that some costs may be more contained. They have made multiple recommendations on how to trim these areas and put controls in place to minimize waste.  Certainly, any truly problematic waste in funding projects should be eliminated or reigned in.  However, reckless budgetary cuts under the guise of fiscal responsibility, is careless and short-sighted.   As it is now, Trump proposes to ignore the good and important work of this agency AND to defund what congress lawfully enacted a mere three months earlier.

Science needs stable funding. Most projects funded by NIH are done so on multi-year basis.   The instability of Congress and this president makes it even harder to fund multi-year projects.
Competition for NIH grants is already intense. 

Government Accountability Office

Fewer projects funded by NIH
hundreds fewer research grants

March for Science