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DelBene Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging $2 Billion Boost for NIH

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More than 160 House members signed the bipartisan letter urging congressional leaders to prioritize biomedical research by increasing funding for NIH. 

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) led more than 160 House members in urging the House Appropriations Committee to fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at no less than $34 billion in any forthcoming appropriations legislation. The bipartisan letter was co-led by Reps. David McKinley (WV-01), Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) and Peter King (NY-02).

“On a bipartisan basis, members of the 114th Congress have repeatedly demonstrated our clear and unambiguous support for strengthening investments in NIH. We know this funding helps us push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, advance promising research and offer hope to millions of Americans suffering from heartbreaking diseases,” the members wrote. “If we are serious about breaking new ground in our understanding of complex and life-threatening conditions, then it is absolutely essential we increase funding for NIH. Simply put, we cannot hope to accelerate the development of new cures, therapies and vaccines without additional resources for research.” 

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved funding increases for NIH in fiscal year 2017. The House bill (H.R. 5926) allocates $33.3 billion for NIH, while the Senate bill (S. 3040) provides $34 billion for the agency — a $2 billion increase above 2016 levels. Neither bill has received a floor vote.

Federal funding for NIH supports more than 400,000 American jobs and generates more than $60 billion in new economic activity. Unfortunately, the federal government’s contributions toward basic research at NIH have consistently failed to keep pace with inflation, allowing the agency’s purchasing power to diminish by nearly 20 percent since 2003. Last year, DelBene helped successfully secure a $2 billion increase for the agency, to its current level of $32 billion, but that is still well below its inflation-adjusted level from 2003.

The letter is signed by 164 Republican and Democratic members of the House. Read the full letter (PDF).

Last updated: November 11, 2016 

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