05.06.19

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Helps Introduce the American Cures Act and American Innovation Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin helped introduce two bills to restore the United States’ commitment to breakthrough scientific and biomedical research. The American Cures Act and the American Innovation Act, both led by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), would create mandatory funds to provide steady, predictable funding for breakthrough research at America’s top research agencies, allowing the United States to remain a leader in development and discovery for decades to come.

“As the granddaughter of an NIH-funded scientist, I have long championed strengthening our federal investments in Made in Wisconsin science and research,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to help introduce these reforms so Wisconsin can continue be a leader in advancing research and cures.”  

The American Cures Act would provide annual budget increases of five percent plus inflation at America’s top four biomedical research agencies: the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense Health Program, and the Veterans Medical and Prosthetics Research Program.

The American Innovation Act would provide annual budget increases of five percent for cutting edge research at five important federal research agencies: The National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, the Department of Defense Science and Technology Programs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Scientific and Technical Research, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Science Directorate. This steady, long-term investment would allow the agencies to plan and manage strategic growth while maximizing efficiencies.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget request would devastate funding for medical and scientific research by proposing to cut funding at the National Institutes of Health by $5 billion (or 12 percent), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $750 million (or more than 10 percent), the National Science Foundation by nearly a billion dollars (12 percent), and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science by $1.1 billion (or more than 16 percent) from FY19 funding levels.

Research and development (R&D) funding in the United States has been lagging in recent decades. In the 1960’s, the United States invested 17 percent of its discretionary budget on research and development—that number is now down to nine percent. Between 1960 and 1980, federal R&D spending as a share of GDP averaged 1.52 percent per year. However, federal R&D investments now average just under 0.8 percent year.  This steady decline has led to a cumulative $1.5 trillion research investment deficit. Meanwhile, China’s research intensity (GDP expenditures on R&D) has increased sharply since the early 2000’s – if this trend continues, China will soon surpass the U.S.

Along with Senators Baldwin and Durbin, the American Cures Act is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). U.S. Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL) are leading the measure in the House.

The American Innovation Act is also cosponsored by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). U.S. Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Lauren Underwood (D-IL) cosponsored the measure in the House.

The American Cures Act is supported by: the American Heart Association, Research!America, the National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Arthritis Foundation, ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, as well as many Illinois health and hospital systems, including Advocate Aurora Health, University of Chicago Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Loyola University Health System, Sinai Health System, Northwestern Medicine, and AMITA Health.

The American Innovation Act is supported by: Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, American Geophysical Union, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and the Task Force on American Innovation.