May 5, 2020
ASTRO has joined organizations representing those throughout the health care industry in urging Congress to include emergency funding for scientific and medical researchers in the next COVID-19 relief package. In a letter to congressional leadership led by Rep. Diana DeGette and Rep. Frank Upton, the organizations detail the burden of pandemic-triggered shutdowns on American research laboratories. That burden affects both the members of those research teams as well as the industries, local and national, that the research enterprise supports in their endeavors. To help alleviate this financial weight, they urge Congress to include $26 billion in research focused funding in the next relief package. The groups suggest the funding be utilized to cover supplements for research grants and contracts, provide emergency relief to sustain personnel and facilities until they can reopen, and fund additional fellowships, traineeships, and assistantships for up to two years. They also look to reintroduce the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act (H.R. 913); a bill which ensures that Medicaid covers the routine care costs of clinical trial participation for enrollees with life threatening conditions. Through this relief, Congress would preserve America’s scientific infrastructure and protect our innovation pipeline.