Washington Update

Inside (the Beltway) Scoop

By: Ellen Kuo
Thursday, December 16, 2021
FASEB Urges Congress to Complete FY 2022 Funding Bills

On December 2, the House passed a continuing resolution, H.R.6119,  to fund the government and sent it to the Senate where it passed the same day. The president signed it into law on December 3 with an end date of February 18.

Reflecting on our nation’s history, U.S. investment in basic research and technological advancement has made our nation a beacon for scientific minds internationally. Their efforts have accelerated our advancements in science by keeping us at the cutting edge globally. Currently, fiscal year (FY) 2022 federal funding for key scientific and research agencies is on hold because Congress has not completed budget negotiations. FASEB and other stakeholders started grassroots advocacy efforts to ensure that the research community weighed in with members of Congress urging them to return to the negotiation table to finalize a FY 2022 omnibus spending bill. The delay in approving funding at proposed higher FY 2022 levels means a significant slowdown in an environment that still has not returned to its normal pace of research activity due to COVID.

In response to an e-action alert from FASEB, an academic scientist performing research, who is reliant on competitive funding from federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, said funding delays are devastating to personnel, who cannot be supported, as well as research progress and competitiveness. The current government funding situation also adds to the uncertainty, especially for junior investigators in biomedical research, as to whether to forge ahead in this career path. Another researcher said the current work being done to understand the brain pathways contributing to the control of viral fever is harmed with even one month of delay in funding approval. Other researchers are suffering weeks or longer of delay in obtaining any funding at all for their initial projects. Meanwhile, smaller academic institutions are negatively impacted more so than better resourced ones when grant funding is not forthcoming. This is not the time to send signals that dampen enthusiasm for the basic research enterprise. 

Please take a moment to send your congressional members an email asking them to finalize FY 2022 funding before February 2022 and share your story. You can also tweet your message using #FundNIH, #NSFfunded, and #VAHealth to tag your efforts.