Short-term funding patches won’t keep US innovation afloat

a group of people walking in front of a building

Last week, Congress passed yet another continuing resolution that could stifle innovation. Although continuing resolutions should be treated as a last resort, they have become standard practice over the last decade to avert government shutdowns.

For the U.S. research enterprise, which depends on predictable funding, the stop-and-go pace of government funding has long-lasting consequences, creating uncertainty for researchers, hindering economic growth, and threatening our position as a global leader.

Congress has once again failed to pass a full appropriations bill, meaning federal agencies will receive the same level of funding from last year’s appropriations bills through mid-February. This freeze on spending levels effectively shrinks the amount of money that agencies have to work with because purchasing power declines over time.

Supply chain issues, inflation, and the rising expense of conducting research mean that the same level of funding for important projects does not go nearly as far, and new projects may not even commence. According to the Office of Management and Budget, another continuing resolution would delay key research the United States needs to prepare for future challenges and keep our nation safe and ahead of competitors.

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