July 9, 2013
The Senate subcommittee markup of the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education FY14 spending bill goes a step in the right direction in softening the blow sequestration has dealt to the hopes and expectations of patients and their families. Sequestration’s across-the-board spending cuts have sent no-confidence signals across the full ecosystem of medical research and innovation in the public and private sector. There’s a reason that, according to a recent national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America, nearly half of Americans (48%) do not believe we are making enough progress in medical research in the U.S. This nation can’t push ahead forcefully with one hand tied behind its back. Our global leadership in research and development is at risk as other countries accelerate investments in research and development and roll out the welcome mat for young scientists unable to secure grants in the U.S. as a result of spending cuts. We commend Senators Tom Harkin and Jerry Moran and members of the subcommittee for their efforts to restore the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, and urge the full committee to do still more. There’s no downside to doing all we can to support research that will help us improve health, drive our economy and contribute to the nation’s security. That’s the track record of the NIH; this is not the time to shortchange it.