The Federal Government is funded through an annual appropriations process in which both the House of Representatives and the Senate develop funding bills to support 12 different areas of the government, iron out differences, and pass bills by a September 30 deadline or risk shutting down the federal government.
The funding bill that covers most health programs, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is known as the Labor-Health and Human Services – Education and Related Agencies bill (L-HHS). It is one of the most controversial bills because it sparks partisan fights over what the federal government should spend money on, and it often includes policies that impact healthcare delivery and research. Every September in recent history, Congress has either missed or come close to missing the deadline.
To protect against missing the deadline and forcing a government shutdown, Congress can pass a short-term continuing resolution that continues funding at the previous year’s levels (flat funding) for a period of time. This year, the likelihood of Congress missing the deadline and even shutting down the government is particularly high because of how far apart Democrats and Republicans are in their proposals. Specifically, some conservatives in the House of Representatives are unhappy with the debt ceiling deal and demanding more cuts while Democrats are seeking funding increases in certain social programs, including the NIH.
Together with hundreds of researchers, physicians, and patients, we will continue to call on our nation’s policymakers to make funding for the NIH a national priority and raise awareness about the importance of continued investment in medical research that leads to more progress, more hope, and more lives saved.
The Endocrine Society has prioritized advocating for funding for the NIH. We have submitted testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations committees, we have met with many offices, we conducted a Hill Day earlier this year where our members met with their congressional delegations to share the value of endocrine research, and we have launched on-line advocacy campaigns that hundreds of our members have joined.
In September, we will increase our efforts to protect the NIH from cuts and a government shutdown. Several of our members will come to Washington, D.C., to participate in a research community-wide Rally for Medical Research to urge Congress to support funding. Together with hundreds of researchers, physicians, and patients, we will continue to call on our nation’s policymakers to make funding for the NIH a national priority and raise awareness about the importance of continued investment in medical research that leads to more progress, more hope, and more lives saved.
If you cannot join us in Washington for the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day, we encourage you to join our efforts by visiting www.endocrine.org/takeaction and participate in our online advocacy campaign. Our campaign will provide you with a template message and direct that message to the correct mailboxes of your Senators and Representative. If you have received NIH funding for your research, it is critical that you let your elected officials know how important this is. This will take less than a minute of your time but will make a difference to the outcome.