EARLIER THIS FALL, Congress voted to pass a 3-month Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government, while the House of Representatives and the Senate work to finalize a Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding bill. The CR, viewed as a temporary measure to keep the federal government operating, keeps funding at this past year’s budget levels through December 8, 2017, for most federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Flat funding jeopardizes the momentum of cancer research in the United States and slows the pace of discovery. ASCO is calling on Congress to swiftly pass an FY 2018 appropriations bill that increases support for the research fueling treatment innovations for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. In particular, ASCO is urging Congress to approve the Senate Appropriations Committee version of the FY 2018 Department of Labor, Health, and Human Services (HHS) Education funding bill, which includes a $2 billion funding increase for the NIH, including a 3% increase for the NCI. The House Appropriations Committee passed a separate version of the bill that includes a more modest $1.1 billion funding increase for the NIH.
Despite bipartisan support for federal funding for cancer research, budget caps and sequestration are looming, putting federal funding at risk. In addition, the White House FY 2018 budget proposes funding cuts to the NCI by 19%. This dramatic drop in funding would limit the ability of scientists to conduct research that advances the screening, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.
Call to Action
USE THE ACT Network to urge your Members of Congress to support robust NCI funding so that the clinical cancer research infrastructure is preserved, young investigators are able to join and stay in the field, and progress continues toward cancer cures.
Stay connected to ASCO in Action to follow cancer policy developments on Capitol Hill. ■
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