Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Ellen Kuo
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Research Community Seeks Emergency Supplemental Funding in Biden’s Next COVID Bill; Plans Are Under Way for FASEB’s Virtual Capitol Hill Day 2021

As the new administration continues efforts to respond to COVID, the research community is bolstering its efforts to obtain supplemental funding to rebuild from the effects of the ongoing pandemic. The new Research Investment to Spark the Economy bill (known as the RISE Act) authorized $25 billion in emergency relief funds for federal science agencies, including $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $3 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF). FASEB and the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research are trying to raise awareness about the bill and are encouraging members of Congress to cosponsor it. Other science advocates are working on language for the U.S Department of Energy Office of Science to expand the scientific workforce and keep pace with the increased demand for a highly trained STEM workforce.

As part of these efforts, life science advocates are preparing for FASEB’s first virtual Capitol Hill Day, which will be split into two days — March 9 and 11— to meet virtually with members of the House and Senate and their staff. These two days are crucial to explaining the broader implications or importance of researchers’ NIH- and NSF-funded research; how researchers have had to pivot to meet the challenges brought on by COVID; and how failing to increase funding for research will jeopardize efforts to keep researchers in the scientific pipeline, improve health outcomes, and promote economic expansion through innovation.

A key message for life science advocates is that robust, sustained, and predictable budget increases for science funding agencies will help researchers keep pace with the scientific challenges and opportunities facing our nation and will help maintain our nation’s global scientific leadership, which enhances our ability to set global standards.

FASEB’s fiscal year 2022 funding requests are available online for reference. Researchers who wish to support FASEB’s Capitol Hill Day can advocate by inviting your senators or representatives to visit your university and joining your elected officials’ virtual town hall meetings to ask them how they are supporting basic research and development, for example. Also, keep informed about the issues by visiting FASEB’s online Advocacy Toolkit and joining FASEB’s free mailing list.