WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined a group of 182 lawmakers, led by U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI), in urging House Leadership to include $26 billion in the next coronavirus relief package for scientific and medical researchers who have been impacted by the pandemic.
While coronavirus-related research is now in overdrive, most other research has been slowed down or stopped altogether due to pandemic-induced closures of campuses and laboratories.
Without action from Congress, the lawmakers are concerned that hundreds of thousands of graduate students, postdocs, principal investigators and other technical support staff are at risk of losing their employment and their work.
“These researchers are essential to protecting our nation’s public health, national security, economic growth and international competitiveness,” the lawmakers wrote today to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “Preserving our scientific infrastructure and protecting our innovation pipeline will help ensure U.S. leadership in the world.”
The funding would cover supplements for research grants and contracts. It would also cover costs of research support personnel and base operating costs for core research facilities and user-funded research services until facilities reopen and research activities return to pre-pandemic activity levels. Finally, this money would fund additional graduate student and postdoc fellowships, traineeships and research assistantships, with priority given to those who could not complete research or degrees due to the coronavirus.
“The University of Colorado community is enormously grateful to Congresswoman DeGette and Congressman Upton for their national leadership in support of the scientific research community,” said University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy. “Still, the COVID-19 driven closure of many campus research labs creates significant challenges for many of CU’s thousands of researchers – including more than 2,100 graduate students and 850. This proposed funding will ensure that we can keep researchers working in the short term and will ensure the success of the national research enterprise in the long run.“
A PDF copy of the letter is available here.