Page 7 - SFRBMdot July 2015
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SFRBM Invades Capitol Hill

by Eric Kelley Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh

We are all painfully aware of the impact to share our concerns, iscal year 2016 funding recommendations and 

of sequestration on federal funding for desire for elevating spending caps:

biomedical research. The placement of 
NIH, as well as other funding agencies, 

under discretionary spending has served to • Stable, sustained growth is requisite for a healthy research 

diminish our spending power by 25% over the enterprise.

past several years. This has led to retreating 
• The NIH has lost nearly 25% of its purchasing power since 2003

pay-lines, an exodus of investigators from 
• There has been an exodus of academic investigators pursuing 
academic research and the potential to lose 
alternative career paths.
more than one generation of talented young 

scientists. As such, there is pressing need for • We have lost at least one generation of young talent to other 

proactive efforts to irst “stop the bleeding” 
and second establish an investment

• Under current spending projections, China will spend more on 
trajectory that is conducive to maintaining a robust and productive 
biomedical research than the U.S. in 2020.
academic research enterprise in the United States. Attempting to ill 

this need, on April 14th representatives from the individual societies • The Budget Control Act (BCA) spending caps are the major 

comprising FASEB, including SFRBM, participated in the annual obstacle to stable, sustained growth.

FASEB Hill Day in Washington D.C.; an even designed to incentivize 
congressional support for and investment in biomedical research. 

This was accomplished by meeting with the scientiic and healthcare • Increasing the NIH by $1.69 billion to total $32 billion for 2016 would 

advisors from individual members of both the House of Representatives afford the capacity to support over 500 new R01-level grants.

and Senate to inform them of the relative impact of current NIH, USDA, 
• Approving a $7.72 billion budget for NSF would afford the capacity 
NSF, DOE and VA funding levels on research progress, environment 
to support 400 additional research grants at current funding levels.
and growth potential.

• The 2016 budgets for VA Medical & Prosthetic Research, 
According to geographic distribution, Hill Day participants were 
Department of Energy SC and Agriculture & Food Research 

grouped, partnered with a FASEB-associated professional lobbyist Initiative should be $622 million, $5.34 billion and $450 million, 

and assigned to visit Senate and House members from their districts. 
For example, representing SFRBM via the University of Pittsburgh, 

I was paired with colleagues from Ohio (University of Toledo) and • A 5 year commitment to increasing federal research and 

Pennsylvania (Drexel) and assigned to the Representatives and development investment by 5% annually would maintain U.S. 

Senators from both of these states. Our lobbyist served both as a leadership in science.

guide through the physical maze of the Capitol and a conduit for • Legislation to move federal research funding out of discretionary 

introductions. Once introduced, we utilized the following talking points
spending would facilitate all the above.

SFRBM Newsletter // July 2015 // SFRBM Invades Capitol Hill

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