Government Shutdown Would Harm Cancer Research and Slow Scientific Progress

Lawmakers’ Failure to Fund Government Could Have Lasting Impact on Patients, Research
For immediate release
September 28, 2023


Jennifer Garvin

ALEXANDRIA, VA—The United States government is poised to shutdown unless Congress can reach an agreement to fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2024 by September 30.

The shutdown will impact numerous health agencies and programs, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), federally qualified health centers, and many social assistance programs. ASCO is also concerned about the impact a prolonged shutdown could have on cancer patients and providers.

A statement from Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO, Chair of the Board, Association for Clinical Oncology, follows:

“The shutdown of the federal government poses a needless risk to continued progress in cancer research. Without federal funding, the work of the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute is seriously limited. Each day of a shutdown represents another delay in issuing a new cancer research grant, starting a new clinical trial, and taking the first steps toward a possible breakthrough scientific discovery.

“Cancer research funding has long received strong bipartisan support in Congress and for good reason. NIH and NCI funded research has played a role in every major advancement related to cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship over the last 50 years. Because of the strong federal investment in cancer research, more than 18 million cancer survivors are alive today in the United States.

"Additionally, a prolonged shutdown could have far-reaching effects for patients and providers across the health care system, including those who access health services through Medicare and Medicaid.

“Time is critical when saving lives from cancer. We urge Congress to pass a Fiscal Year 2024 funding bill that preserves robust resources for medical research and keeps our nation’s health agencies running.”

About ASCO: 

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO®) is a 501 (c)(6) organization that represents nearly 50,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Established by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. in 2019, ASCO works to ensure that all individuals with cancer have access to high quality, equitable care; that the cancer care delivery system supports optimal cancer care; and that our nation supports robust federal funding for research on the prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter at @ASCO.