Failure to Reach Long-Term Budget Deal Disrupts Biomedical Research

Endocrine Society calls for $46.4 billion in NIH appropriations.

Congress missed an opportunity to secure long-term funding for life-saving medical research in the midst of the pandemic.

Congress averted a government shutdown by passing a two-month-long Continuing Resolution (CR), but it only provides temporary funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other government programs at their current level with additional restrictions. This stop-gap approach to appropriations disrupts momentum for needed medical research and further restricts funding for new and existing NIH research grants.

The Endocrine Society urges Congress to pass a final Fiscal Year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill as soon as possible and include at least $46.4 billion for the NIH. Without long-term funding, the NIH cannot maintain momentum from previous research investments or support new opportunities for life-saving medical research effectively. A CR is effectively a cut in funding because it doesn’t take into account inflation.

Without long-term funding, the NIH cannot maintain momentum from previous research investments or support new opportunities for life-saving medical research effectively.

Under a CR, the NIH and other research granting agencies cannot be certain of what its final budget will be and must spend more conservatively. Program officers cannot make funding decisions as efficiently or quickly as they would like. Researchers already wait nearly 9 months, on average, from the time they submit a grant to learn if it will be funded, and the budget uncertainty can create drawn-out delays for those who need to revise and resubmit their applications.

Delays in grant awards create hardships, particularly for young scientists who must keep their laboratories afloat during the resubmission process. Investigators may not have the resources to fund their labs during the delay and may be forced to cut staff or drop out of the research pipeline completely. Funding instability also undermines the pipeline of new biomedical researchers. These negative effects have been amplified amid the COVID pandemic, when research costs have soared higher than anticipated.

Learn more about the need for long-term biomedical research funding in the Society’s testimony to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education-Related Agencies Department of Health & Human Services.

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