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Lawmakers Call for $26B in Coronavirus Relief Funding to Support R&D Programs

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A bipartisan group of senators is seeking $26 billion from the Trump administration’s coronavirus relief package to sustain research efforts and personnel in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The office of Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said Monday that he and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., along with 31 other senators wrote to Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., calling for additional emergency relief funding to support the scientific research community.

The senators noted that despite the government’s prioritization of coronavirus-related research and development programs, most R&D initiatives saw delays or termination due to facility closures.

Funding will support the provision of research grants and fellowships as well as assistance for research personnel until facilities reopen to continue pre-pandemic activities, according to the letter.

“Research universities, academic medical centers, and national labs are major employers in all 50 states, and protecting the research workforce is critical to state economies,” the letter states. “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.”