Okay, I know that my readership is small and frail and fluctuating (and I think largely non-American), but this was recently pointed out to me along with a very polite request to repost it. Via Isis the Scientist:
For months the new House leadership has been promising to cut billions in federal funding in fiscal year (FY) 2011. Later this week the House will try to make the rhetoric a reality by voting on HR 1, a “continuing resolution” (CR) that would cut NIH funding by $1.6 billion (5.2%) BELOW the current level – reducing the budget for medical research to $29.4 billion!
We must rally everyone – researchers, trainees, lab personnel – in the scientific community to protest these draconian cuts. Please go to [this link] for instructions on how to call your Representative’s Washington, DC office today! Urge him/her to oppose the cuts to NIH and vote against HR 1. Once you’ve made the call, let us know how it went by sending a short email to the address provided in the call instructions and forward the alert link to your colleagues. We must explain to our Representatives how cuts to NIH will have a devastating impact on their constituents!
William T. Talman, MD
I really shouldn’t need to explain why this sort of shit is a very bad thing. Congress is, at the moment, very much like a cornered animal. They are under great pressure to cut spending wherever they can, and a large percentage of the electorate is probably willing to let them get away with hacking at science funding to preserve tax cuts. There are two problems here: (1) research funding is not nearly a big enough portion of the budget to fix any problem by cutting it, so this is more of a symbolic sacrifice rather than a practical one; and (2) if allowed to do it now, it will happen again in the future. We can’t let hacking away at research become (even more of) a fallback plan whenever they want it to look like they are doing something.
This is not a partisan issue. A number of people are trying to make it one, but look beyond that. Yes, Republicans started this, but if Democrats stand idly by they are just as guilty. And the consequences of this will be measurable in a body count. So, if you have any stake at all in the future of biomedical research (and yes, this will extend beyond America, science is a species level issue, especially these days), please raise hell and spread the word.