If you have been following what has been going on in Washington lately, you have likely heard a lot about government shutdowns and continuing resolutions (CRs). The federal government would have run out of funding on November 21st had Congress not acted. A short-term CR will temporarily fund the government until December 20th with hopes that legislators can work out the appropriations process. While legislators work on finding common ground, cancer research could be negatively impacted should a series of short-term CRs be put into place. Here are some things that could be at stake.
The nature of a CR itself means that there won’t necessarily be an increase for anything in the federal budget, which includes the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI). A yearlong CR would keep NIH and NCI appropriations at the same levels as FY19. While that doesn’t sound bad, there have been increases for NIH and subsequently NCI for the past few appropriations cycles. Staying at the same level, as opposed to an increase, could impact research. In fact, researchers have reported that operating under a CR can cause uncertainty for them.
A program that provides research funded under the Department of Defense called the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) is also at risk. CDMRP is administered under the Department of Defense, and without specific allocations to the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP), along with specific topic areas, of which myeloma has been one, the funding is not guaranteed. For FY19, PRCRP was allocated $90 million dollars in research funding.