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  • Washington Highlights

    Bipartisan, Bicameral Research Relief Bill Introduced


    Christa Wagner, Manager, Government Relations

    The Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act of 2021, which would authorize $25 billion in supplemental funding for federal research agencies, was introduced on Feb. 5 with bipartisan co-sponsors in both the House and the Senate.

    The RISE Act aims to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 to the U.S. research enterprise by providing emergency relief to federal science agencies, including a proposed $10 billion investment in the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    Lead sponsors of the bill include Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), as well as Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.). Nearly 80 members of the House joined as original co-sponsors to the RISE Act.

    AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, sent a letter of thanks to House and Senate co-sponsors on Feb. 5, saying, “Since the start of the pandemic nearly one year ago, many labs pivoted to pandemic-related research to accelerate global efforts to combat COVID-19. … [I]nstitutions nationwide were initially forced to suspend other research activities that required access to laboratories and research facilities, leading the vast majority of labs and clinical research, including clinical trials, nationwide to shut down or scale back operations substantially. Progress on conducting new experiments was and continues to be delayed for many, and pre-pandemic research that was suspended mid-stream may never be recovered.”

    “Your legislation takes an important step in preserving our nation’s investment in research across federal science agencies and in ensuring that we do not lose ground in innovation and discovery or turn away a generation of future biomedical researchers,” added Skorton.

    The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, an NIH advocacy coalition convened by the AAMC, issued a Feb. 5 press statement in support of the legislation and reiterated the urgent need for research relief funding. “As Congress considers new rescue and recovery support, $10 billion for the NIH as proposed in the RISE Act would be an important down-payment toward reversing some of the damage to non-COVID-19 research activities caused by the pandemic. Preserving the federal commitment to research will work to improve health, enhance the nation’s resilience, bolster our nation’s global competitiveness, [and] reinforce the research workforce.”

    The bipartisan, bicameral bill was first introduced in 2020, and the AAMC joined over 325 organizations in supporting the legislation in the 116th Congress.