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AAMC, Higher Ed Groups Seek Research Relief Funding in Future COVID-19 Package

May 29, 2020

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CONTACTS
Christa Wagner, Senior Legislative Analyst

The AAMC joined a May 27 letter to Senate leadership with the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and the American Council on Education urging at least $26 billion in supplemental COVID-19 emergency relief funding to federal research agencies to support the nation’s university research and scientific enterprise.

This letter reiterates the need for emergency supplemental funding for research agencies due to the impacts of COVID-19 disruptions to the research enterprise as raised in previous joint letters to Congress [see Washington Highlights, March 20, April 10].

The latest letter follows House passage of the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800), which included $3 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “for offsetting the costs related to reductions in lab productivity” as a result of the pandemic [see Washington Highlights, May 15]. The May 27 letter emphasizes the importance of supporting the entire spectrum of research supported by all federal research agencies.

“COVID-19 has caused enormous disruptions to federally supported research and inflicted serious and detrimental impacts on our nation’s research enterprise. The relief that we are requesting would make significant strides in avoiding long-term and devastating impacts to federal research which underpins the ability of our nation’s patients, doctors, innovation and energy industries, and farmers, ranchers, and fishers to have access to globally-competitive, American innovations,” the letter states. 

The letter notes that the recommended emergency supplemental funds “do not expand the nation’s investment in research but are desperately needed just to preserve the current investment.” The letter specifically highlights at a minimum a recommendation of $10 billion for the NIH, as referenced by NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on May 7 [see Washington Highlights, May 8].

Since April, over 210 bipartisan members of Congress have signed letters to House and Senate leadership supporting $26 billion in future emergency supplemental relief packages to support the research community as it deals with the impacts of COVID-19 research disruptions.

The Senate is expected to work on its own version of a fourth comprehensive COVID-19 emergency supplemental funding package over the next month.

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