Increase Funding for Cancer Research


  • Congress is working on appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.
  • Over the last few years, there has been bipartisan support for increasing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding; in fact, NIH received approximately a $2 billion funding increase in FY2016 and FY2017, a $3 billion increase for FY2018, and another $2 billion increase in FY2019. 
  • Even with bipartisan support over the last few years, once adjusted for inflation, funding levels for NIH and NCI are still both below the funding level of FY2003.
  • Additionally, any potential for NIH increases this year is seriously constrained by budget limitations and continued advocacy is needed.


  • Congress is working on funding bills for FY2020, which begins on October 1, 2019. 
  • While there continues to be bipartisan support for increased funding for NIH and NCI and a desire to build on recent momentum, Congress must first pass a budget deal that increases the defense and non-defense discretionary spending caps for FY2020.
  • If Congress does not take action to raise the budget caps, funding for FY2020 non-defense discretionary programs will be cut by $55 billion across all agencies.
  • For FY2020, ASCO and the larger biomedical community are asking Congress to increase funding for the NIH by $2.5 billion, to a total of $41.6 billion.
  • For FY2020, ASCO and the cancer community have agreed on asking Congress for an increase of $378 million for NCI, to a total of $6.5 billion.
  • The House Appropriations Committee has held their mark up of the FY2020 spending bill and provided a total of $41.1 billion for the NIH and $6.25 billion for the NCI. Although the increases in the House fall short of our requests, ASCO applauds the increases in spite of the difficult budget climate this year.
  • Ask your lawmaker to support the funding of $2.5 billion above the FY2019 enacted level, or at least $41.6 billion in funding for the NIH, and $6.5 billion in funding for NCI for FY2020.

For more information on the value of personalizing your communications to Congress please view this short video.

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