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6th Annual Rally for Medical Research Hill Day Advocates for Continued Growth in Federal Funding for the NIH

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Nearly 350 organizations—including medical societies and oncology treatments centers—are advocating for robust, sustained, and predictable annual funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) during the 6th annual Rally for Medical Research Hill Day, taking place today and September 13. Specifically, advocates will express their appreciation to Senate offices for passing a bill with a $2 billion funding increase for the NIH in fiscal year (FY) 2019, while requesting that the House of Representatives support the Senate-passed funding level of $39.1 billion for the NIH in the final FY 2019 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill.

“There is a very strong level of enthusiasm on Capitol Hill to provide the NIH with its fourth consecutive significant annual funding increase, which was underscored when the Senate voted overwhelmingly (85-7) last month for a bill that included a $2 billion increase for the NIH in FY 2019,” said Jon Retzlaff, Chief Policy Officer of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), founding organizer and lead sponsor of Hill Day. “Therefore, we are excited that Thursday’s 6th annual Rally for Medical Research Hill Day, which will include individuals representing hundreds of medical research–focused organizations, will provide us with an opportunity to thank our policymakers for their commitment to making NIH funding a national priority, while also urging them to complete the FY 2019 appropriations in a timely manner. If the $2 billion increase proposed by the Senate is also supported by the House, it would translate to a 30% increase for the NIH since FY 2016.” 

Today, the Rally for Medical Research reception featured remarks from NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhDSenators Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Patty Murray (D-Washington), and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois); and U.S. Representative Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas).

On September 13, U.S. Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) will give remarks at a breakfast for the scientists, health professionals, and patient advocates who will be participating in the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day, where they will meet with House and Senate members and their staff to raise awareness about the urgent need for increased investments in the NIH to improve health, spur progress, inspire hope, and save more lives. 

During these Hill Day meetings, advocates will share the importance of investing in the NIH:

  • 95% of the NIH budget goes directly to research awards, programs, and centers; training programs; and research and development contracts.
  • Each year, the NIH awards more than 57,000 research and training grants. These grants support approximately 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities and organizations in every state.
  • NIH-funded research contributed to all 210 new drug approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between 2010 and 2016.

In addition to all those attending meetings on Capitol Hill, many more advocates will participate Thursday in the Rally National Day of Action. Organizations participating in the Rally are encouraging their communities to get in touch with their members of Congress via phone, e-mail, and social media to urge their support for a $2 billion increase for the NIH in FY 2019. 

The Rally for Medical Research initiative was launched in April 2013 to bring together the entire medical research community to ask Congress to make the NIH a national priority. Through the annual Hill Day, the Rally for Medical Research continues to raise awareness about the critical need for an increased investment in the NIH.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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