HELP Committee Democrats Call on Republicans to Commit to Reliable Investments in Lifesaving Biomedical Science at NIH, FDA
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) in introducing the National Biomedical Research Act with all of their Democratic colleagues on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee.
This legislation would increase funding for targeted biomedical research initiatives through a new, reliable funding stream supporting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The purchasing power of the NIH has been cut by Congress for more than a decade. This funding boost will help restore the NIH budget to its 2006 levels, adjusted for biomedical inflation.
"Wisconsin has a long tradition of being a national leader on biomedical research and innovation, so I am proud to support this legislation," said Senator Baldwin. "Strengthening our investments in both NIH and FDA is absolutely essential to advance our shared goals to promote lifesaving cures and help grow America's innovation economy."
"Federal investment in medical research saves lives, spurs innovation and boosts our economy - but Congress has neglected these critical investments for more than a decade," Senator Warren said. "Any package of innovation bills coming out of the HELP Committee must include significant increases in funding for NIH and FDA. Anything less is just lip service."
"Democrats have made our goal very clear: we want to advance medical innovation that makes a difference for patients and families, and that means stronger investments in the NIH and the FDA," said Senator Murray. "With this legislation, our scientists and researchers will have the tools, resources, and certainty that are critical to tackling some of our most pressing medical challenges, from heart disease to cancer. There is bipartisan agreement on the need to boost investments in innovative medical research, so I hope that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will join us to advance this legislation and offer hope to patients and families nationwide."
U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are also original cosponsors of the legislation.
The National Biomedical Research Act would create the Biomedical Innovation Fund, a new fund designed specifically to provide predictable investments in life-saving biomedical research conducted by leading scientists at the nation's top research institutions. The funding would support specific initiatives such as Vice President Biden's National Cancer Moonshot initiative, the Precision Medicine Initiative, grants for young emerging scientists, and other breakthrough research that will help accelerate the development and approval of new medicines, improve prevention, and increase understanding of life-threatening diseases. Right now, NIH rejects nine of eleven grant proposals, one of the highest rejection rates in history and far below the 1/3 rate called for by agency leaders, because of a lack of resources. Predictability of funding for biomedical research will create stability for researchers and accelerate the pace of scientific advancements.
Click here for a fact sheet on the National Biomedical Research Act.