Endocrine Society Urges Congress to Increase Funding for NIH

Funding needed by start of new fiscal year to advance public health during pandemic

The Endocrine Society is calling on Congress to pass the House Labor-HHS spending bill to ensure health agencies are funded before the start of Fiscal Year 2021 and to avoid the tumult and disruption of a continuing resolution and potential government shutdowns.

The Society appreciates the commitment of Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) to prioritize biomedical research so the country can tackle the significant health challenges before us and address the COVID-19 pandemic as well as future outbreaks.

The House bill provides many critical investments in public health priorities shared by the Society, including:

  • a 13.3% increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH);
  • a 2.98% increase over FY 2020 levels for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and
  • support for public health infrastructure, emergency preparedness, women’s and children’s health, health professions training, expanded access to care, and more at a time when they are needed to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19.

The Society’s membership includes thousands of basic and clinical scientists who receive federal support from the NIH to fund endocrine-related research on topics including diabetes, cancer, fertility, aging, obesity, and osteoporosis. Federal funding for biomedical research has dramatically advanced the health of Americans. Continued support is needed to protect public health from COVID-19 and future outbreaks.

Since the pandemic’s start, endocrine scientists have played a key role in determining how endocrine systems and conditions intersect with virus and infection pathways. Research has shown that people with diabetes who become infected are more likely to experience severe cases of COVID-19 and have higher mortality rates. Ongoing research is examining exactly how and why the two conditions impact each other.

Basic research is fundamental for understanding what makes the virus that causes COVID-19—SARS-CoV-2—so contagious. SARS-CoV-2 binds to the ACE2 receptor, a protein expressed in many tissues. This allows the virus to enter endocrine cells and interfere with the endocrine system.

As we learn more about the virus and implications for patients with endocrine disease, funding for public health agencies is more important than ever. Consequently, we note the importance of funding not only one-time emergency funding to respond to the virus, but of increasing funding for the base appropriations levels.

The Society urges swift bipartisan action in both the House and Senate on this appropriations bill to ensure the critical work of health agencies is not disrupted going into FY 2021.

The Society’s position statement on biomedical research funding and appropriations testimony provides more detailed information about our funding recommendations.