Representatives Introduce COVID Relief Package for Federal Research Agencies

July 9, 2020

As Congress continues to assess the financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic and anticipate future funding needs, a bipartisan group of Representatives DeGette (D-CO), Upton (R-MI), Johnson (D-TX), Lucas (R-OK), Eshoo (D-CA), and Gonzalez (R-OH) introduced the Research Investment to Spark the Economy Act (RISE Act) (H.R. 7308)

The legislation authorizes approximately $26 billion in supplemental funding for federal research agencies to mitigate the extensive disruption to federally funded research caused by COVID-19. The bill also provides for temporary regulatory relief due to the pandemic. The bill’s provisions echo the letter that over 180 Members of the House sent to House leaders in April and are consistent with the letter higher education associations including APLU, AAU, AAMC, and ACE sent to Senate leadership in May.

The legislation includes funding requests for key federal agencies supporting FABBS scientists:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) — $10 billion
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) — $3 billion
  • Institute of Education Sciences (IES) — $200 million

FABBS has endorsed the legislation. The full list of supporting organization can be found here

NIH has already received $3.6 billion for COVID-19 research in a series of emergency stimulus bills, and NSF has received $75 million through the CARES Act. According to estimates, NIH has already lost about $10 billion worth of research on other diseases when labs had to shut down due to the pandemic.

NIH Director Francis Collins has said the agency will need an additional $8.8 billion post vaccine to study lasting impacts of COVID-19, including the behavioral, social and economic consequences of people sheltering at home.

The House approved the HEROES Act pandemic relief bill on May 15, including $4.7 billion for NIH and $125 million for NSF. The Senate is not expected to take up the measure and is instead crafting a separate relief package for consideration when senators return on July 20th after a 2-week recess.