Letter to the Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Hon. Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader - DeGette leads 181 Members of Congress in urging relief for science and medical research community


By: David McKinley, Mark Pocan, Adam Smith, Kim Schrier, Pramila Jayapal, Derek Kilmer, Cathy Rodgers, Rick Larsen, Suzan DelBene, Peter Welch, Gerry Connolly, Jennifer Wexton, Don Beyer, Jr., Abigail Spanberger, Denver Riggleman III, Donald McEachin, Henry Cuellar, Veronica Escobar, Vicente Gonzalez, Lizzie Fletcher, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Dusty Johnson, Joe Cunningham, Jim Langevin, David Cicilline, Mike Doyle, Jr., Conor Lamb, Matt Cartwright, Susan Wild, Chrissy Houlahan, Mary Scanlon, Madeleine Dean, Dwight Evans, Brendan Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Kendra Horn, Tom Cole, Dave Joyce, Tim Ryan, Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Joyce Beatty, Brian Higgins, Joe Morelle, Tom Reed II, Anthony Brindisi, Paul Tonko, Sean Maloney, Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney, Max Rose, Jerry Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, Nydia Velázquez, Grace Meng, Kathleen Rice, Thomas Suozzi, Pete King, Dina Titus, Xochitl Torres Small, Deb Haaland, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mikie Sherrill, Don Payne, Jr., Bill Pascrell, Jr., Albio Sires, Tom Malinowski, Joshua Gottheimer, Andy Kim, Annie Kuster, Chris Pappas, Donald Bacon, Alma Adams, David Rouzer, David Price, George Holding, G. K. Butterfield, Jr., Bennie Thompson, Lacy Clay, Jr., Betty McCollum, Angie Craig, Brenda Lawrence, Debbie Dingell, Haley Stevens, Andy Levin, Elissa Slotkin, Fred Upton, Jared Golden, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, Anthony Brown, John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Bill Keating, Stephen Lynch, Ayanna Pressley, Seth Moulton, Joe Kennedy III, Lori Trahan, Jim McGovern, Richard Neal, Cedric Richmond, John Yarmuth, Sharice Davids, André Carson, Jim Baird, Lauren Underwood, Bill Foster, Brad Schneider, Danny Davis, Sean Casten, Dan Lipinski, Bobby Rush, Steve King, Cindy Axne, Dave Loebsack, Abby Finkenauer, Tulsi Gabbard, Lucy McBath, John Lewis, Hank Johnson, Jr., Sanford Bishop, Jr., Buddy Carter, Donna Shalala, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch, Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Jr., Gus Bilirakis, Val Demings, Darren Soto, Stephanie Murphy, Ted Yoho, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Eleanor Norton, Jahana Hayes, Jim Himes, Joe Courtney, John Larson, Ed Perlmutter, Jason Crow, Joe Neguse, Susan Davis, Scott Peters, Juan Vargas, Mike Levin, Harley Rouda, Alan Lowenthal, Katie Porter, Nanette Barragán, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Linda Sánchez, Norma Torres, Grace Napolitano, Adam Schiff, Judy Chu, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, T.J. Cox, Jimmy Panetta, Jim Costa, Eric Swalwell, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee, Jerry McNerney, Doris Matsui, Mike Thompson, John Garamendi, Jared Huffman, Greg Stanton, Ruben Gallego, Ann Kirkpatrick, Diana DeGette
Date: April 29, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:

As Congress continues to work on economic relief legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that you address the challenges faced by the U.S. scientific research workforce during this crisis. While COVID-19 related-research is now in overdrive, most other research has been slowed down or stopped due to pandemic-induced closures of campuses and laboratories. We are deeply concerned that the people who comprise the research workforce -- graduate students, postdocs, principal investigators, and technical support staff -- are at risk.

While Federal rules have allowed researchers to continue to receive their salaries from federal grant funding, their work has been stopped due to shuttered laboratories and facilities and many researchers are currently unable to make progress on their grants. Additionally, researchers will need supplemental funding to support an additional four months' salary, as many campuses will remain shuttered until the fall, at the earliest. Many core research facilities -- typically funded by user fees -- sit idle. Still, others have incurred significant costs for shutting down their labs, donating the personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline health care workers, and cancelling planned experiments.

Congress must act to preserve our current scientific workforce and ensure that the U.S. is prepared to continue our global scientific leadership once this crisis ends.

We strongly support the fourth relief package to include of $26 billion in funding to cover the following important research work:

-Cover supplements for research grants and contracts (i.e., cost extensions) due to COVID-19 related impacts, including the need for additional salary support and/or research related ramp-up costs;
-Provide emergency relief to sustain research support personnel and base operating costs for core research facilities and user-funded research services until such time facilities reopen and research activities return to pre-pandemic activity levels; and
-Fund additional graduate student and postdoc fellowships, traineeships, and research assistantships for up to two years. Graduate students who could not complete their degrees due to pandemic related impacts should be given priority for graduate fellowships and other forms of support so they can complete their research and degrees.

Supporting the people of the U.S. scientific and medical research community will help stimulate the U.S economy in the near term by keeping these workers employed. Protecting the research workforce is critical to state and local economies as research universities, academic medical centers, independent research institutes, and national labs are major employers in all 50 states.

In the long term, these researchers are essential to protecting our nation's public health, national security, economic growth and international competitiveness. Preserving our scientific infrastructure and protecting our innovation pipeline will help ensure U.S. leadership in the world.

We appreciate your leadership as Congress continues to respond to the economic fallout from this pandemic. Thank you for your attention to this request.