ASCO Statement Opposes Trump’s Recommended Budget Cuts to NIH

March 24, 2017
Leah Lawrence

ASCO has released a statement announcing its opposition to President Trump’s budget outline for FY2018, which would cut about $6 billion in funding to the National Institutes of Health.

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO, recently released a statement announcing ASCO’s opposition to President Trump’s budget outline for FY2018, which would cut about $6 billion in funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Institute’s funding was approximately $32.3 billion for FY2016; this cut would reduce the organization’s funding by almost 20%.

“When we are on the cusp of tremendous advances in cancer care, the United States can’t turn back the clock on research that will benefit millions of Americans with life-threatening diseases and their families,” Hayes wrote in the statement. “ASCO urges Congress to reject the proposed cuts and increase federal support for the NIH and the National Cancer Institute.”

President Trump released his budget outline, “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” on March 16. Among the proposed cuts to the Federal budget is a reduction in NIH spending by $5.8 billion. The proposal would also include a “major reorganization of NIH’s Institutes and Centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities.”

In his last year in office, President Obama proposed a FY2017 budget of $33.136 billion for the NIH, an amount the NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, said reflects a “dedication to improving the health and wellness of all Americans,” and would allow the Institutes to “remain on the cutting edge of scientific breakthroughs.”

According to the NIH, more than 80% of its funding is awarded through almost 50,000 competitive grants to more than 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools, and research institutions in the United States and around the world.

In his statement, Hayes wrote that in addition to rejecting President Trump’s proposed budget cuts for the NIH, ASCO urges Congress to continue the proposed FY2017 budget trajectory by significantly increasing funding for the NIH in FY2018.

“Now is not the time to slow progress in finding new treatments and cures for patients with cancer,” Hayes wrote. “In fact, after more than a decade of flat funding, our nation’s biomedical research infrastructure must catch up with sustained increases in future years to meet the possibility of today’s science.”

In the statement, ASCO encouraged its member to visit the ACT Network to contact their representative in Congress about this issue.