Trump budget delivers a seismic shock to science

How bad is it – and how likely are the proposed cuts to be enacted?

Although the American Psychological Association (APA) and our sister scientific associations had expected budget cuts, it was a shock to see the “skinny budget” proposal in black and white: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), strongly supported by members of Congress from both parties and only months ago the recipient of extra money via the 21st Century Cures bill, cut by 18% or nearly $6 billion in one fiscal year.

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Affordable Care Act revision leaves science largely untouched

Psychological research funded through the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute is not being considered among proposed changes…so far.

The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives has just rolled out its plan to revise the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and while in a letter (PDF, 95KB) to the Chairs of the two Committees who have so far passed the bill, APA has expressed broad concerns about the new bill, the provision of ACA that funds research, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), appears to be under the radar for now.

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Sen. Flake responds to APA advocate about federal research funding

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announced the release of his latest “wastebook” at a Washington press conference on Jan. 10, 2017.   The document – titled “Porkemon Go" – lists what Flake believes to be examples of wasteful government spending, including federally funded research projects. 

At the press conference, Pat Kobor of the American Psychological Association’s Science Government Relations Office, raised the concern that such wastebooks misrepresent the research supported by the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies.  Together, Kobor’s comments and Flake’s response (see video) capture much of the current debate surrounding wastebooks – a debate that may become more heated as Congress and the new administration proceed with budget deliberations this year.

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Here comes a new Congress – What can psychology expect?

Legislation on budget, Affordable Care Act repeal, and more on tap

Members of the 115th Congress were sworn in on January 3, 2017, and lost no time getting to work. There are seven new senators, including five Democrats and two Republicans (48 Democrats and 52 Republicans in total). The House will welcome 55 new members-- 26 Democrats and 29 Republicans (194 Democrats, 241 Republicans, total). Typically the beginning of a new Congress involves the approval of caucus rules, organization of committees, planning of hearings and introduction of legislation. The highest-profile bills will be the lower-numbered bills -- S. 1 is a budget bill that would kickstart repeal of the Affordable Care Act (more on that effort below). While we don’t yet know what H.R. 1 will be, we do know about some of the legislation that is coming our way.

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Showing Capitol Hill the importance of the National Institutes of Health

Showing Capitol Hill the importance of the National Institutes of Health

 On September 21-22, 2016, I took part in the 2016 Rally for Medical Research in Washington, DC on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA). The Rally for Medical Research is an annual advocacy event in which researchers, clinicians, patients and survivors from all over the country, representing about 300 different institutions and advocacy organizations, gather on Capitol Hill to speak with their members of Congress about importance of funding for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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