ASCO Asks Congress to Prioritize Federal Research Funding in Fiscal Year 2018

March 9, 2017

In written testimony submitted to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education, ASCO asked Congress to increase federal support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative in fiscal year 2018 (FY18). Specifically, ASCO asked for at least $34.8 billion for the NIH and a supplemental $300 million in funding for the Moonshot Initiative.

In its testimony, ASCO thanked the subcommittee for its long-standing commitment to supporting federal research funding at the NIH and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), as well as its inclusion of full funding for the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative in the fiscal year 2017 continuing resolution. ASCO also reiterated the need for the Moonshot funding to supplement rather than supplant predictable increases in the underlying NCI budget.

“When it comes to high-risk, pioneering research, federal funding is often indispensable and has been a unique asset over the decades since World War II. Often only federal funding can support research that the private sector typically does not pursue, such as cancer prevention and screening and treatment comparisons. Funding for our nation’s biomedical research infrastructure needs to catch up to what is needed today and keep up with sustained increases in future years to meet the possibility of today’s science. Failure to nurture the historic US investment in research places health outcomes, scientific leadership, and economic growth at risk,” ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO, said in the testimony.

ASCO’s testimony was submitted in response to the House Appropriations Labor HHS Subcommittee’s Public Witness Day hearing on March 8, 2017. The hearing gave members of the subcommittee an opportunity to hear from organizations about the appropriations issues important to their constituencies.

At the same time, the Senate Labor HHS Appropriations subcommittee held a hearing on March 8 entitled “Saving Lives Through Medical Research,” which featured testimony about the real-life impact federal research funding. In his opening statement, Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) spoke about the need for Congress to continue to confirm its commitment to the NIH, saying “Consistent, sustained increases in funding are critical for biomedical researchers as they undertake the complex, multi-year studies necessary to pursue new treatments and cures.”

On March 1, the House Appropriations Labor HHS Subcommittee also held a Members’ Day, where Members, including Reps. John Delaney (D-Md.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), provided testimony in favor of federal research funding. During the hearing, Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) also reiterated their support for the NIH.

The Continuing Resolution currently funding the NIH expires on April 28, 2017. ASCO has been vocal about the need for Congress and the Administration to enact a final FY17 funding bill that provides robust funding for the NIH.

Read ASCO’s testimony to the House Appropriations Labor HHS Subcommittee.

As Congress deliberates on funding for FY18, ASCO will continue to advocate for increased federal support for research. Stay updated on the appropriations discussions by visiting ASCO in Action.