ASBMB statement on the proposed House spending bill for Labor and the Department of Health and Human

July 19, 2023

On July 13, the House Appropriations Committee released and approved the draft fiscal year 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies funding bill. This bill provides $163 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services, a 28% cut below spending levels from FY2023. Notably, this bill allocates only $44.7 billion to the National Institutes of Health, which is $3.8 billion, or 6.4%, below the FY2023 enacted spending levels.  

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is concerned and disheartened by the proposed budgets for the NIH and especially the significant budget cuts to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. If passed, this appropriations bill would slash NIAID’s budget by almost 23%, NINDS’s budget by 5% and both NCI and NIGMS’s budgets by almost 3%. The ASBMB strongly urges policymakers to sustain funding for the NIH’s base budget at $51 billion. 

Every dollar awarded to researchers by NIH doubles its economic impact. For example, in fiscal year 2022, the $36.68 billion awarded to researchers across the country supported over half a million jobs and almost $97 billion in economic activity. Spending cuts like the proposed bill would be devastating to the U.S. research enterprise and, more importantly, to the scientists and students who are contributing to the innovation pipeline. NIH Institutes would be forced to cut funding to hundreds of researchers, which would halt scientific progress addressing pressing health challenges that this country faces and require labs to lay off valuable research and administrative personnel.  

The ASBMB recognizes the challenge of balancing funding priorities with a limited cap on discretionary funding outlined in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. However, extreme cuts to NIH’s base budget will hamper economic and job growth in communities across the country where NIH-supported research occurs.  

The U.S. and its citizens rely on the research enterprise and Congress must invest in this country’s health, research community and its future.