December 22, 2020 – The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research issued the following statement in response to funding included for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, passed by the House of Representatives and Senate on December 21.
“The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research appreciates Congress’s efforts to finalize FY 2021 spending before the end of the calendar year, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic, layered on top of myriad other challenges, is causing much strain for patients, the biomedical research enterprise, and the entire country. We recognize the discretionary spending constraints that negotiators faced in drafting the appropriations bills, and we appreciate that the final FY 2021 funding level for the NIH overall keeps pace with biomedical research inflation and that the COVID-19 supplemental includes some new emergency funding for additional COVID-19-related research. The recent authorization of the first SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is but one example of the value that the nation’s past investments in medical research can yield, and ongoing, robust support for the agency is key to building national resilience against ongoing and future health threats.
Looking ahead, we must ensure that we continue to move forward in the nation’s commitment to the NIH and the hope of health that it represents for patients. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, research across the full spectrum of scientific disciplines and diseases has been disrupted. Without additional resources, promising research on both the novel coronavirus and across the NIH’s broad portfolio may be on hold. The extraordinary, bipartisan investments made by House and Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations leaders over the last five years have been essential in assisting the NIH to recover lost ground after a decade and a half of stagnant budgets, and we must not allow discovery to be delayed due to underinvestment.
We urge lawmakers to work quickly in the new year to provide additional emergency funding for the NIH to advance new COVID-19-related research and to mitigate the impact of the public health emergency on our nation’s research enterprise. And we look forward to working with lawmakers to secure ample discretionary spending allocations moving forward that allow the needed investments in key national priorities, such as the NIH. If we are to fully realize the potential of medical discovery, we must ensure meaningful growth over biomedical inflation for the NIH in the next fiscal year and beyond.”