Castor and Butterfield Introduce Legislation to Boost America’s Commitment to Medical Research
WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, Representatives Kathy Castor (FL-14) and G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) introduced the Permanent Investment in Health Research Act to remove medical research funding from the political whims of congressional budget battles and place the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on more certain footing. Flat funding and cuts to NIH are eroding America’s global competitive edge and costing high-paying jobs across the country. The Permanent Investment in Health Research Act seeks to shield medical research funding from the mindless austerity of Congressional Republicans.
“We will only save lives if we can robustly fund medical research in America and keep America as a world leader,” Rep. Castor said. “Today, funding for medical research is discretionary and at the mercy of the budget battles in Congress. This harms momentum towards cures and creates economic uncertainty.”
An article published last month by Journal of the American Medical Association shows research funding is suffering in the United States, while other countries increase their support. This study shows the need for the United States to step up funding for medical research to keep a competitive edge.
“Funding for medical research is too essential to be subjected to political squabbles,” said Rep. Butterfield, who serves with Rep. Castor on the House Energy & Commerce Committee and represents a part of the Research Triangle in North Carolina. “This bill ensures that regardless of the political climate medical research will be considered as a non-discretionary program, guaranteeing funding, jobs, and scientific advancement.”
In addition to NIH funding lagging behind inflation over the last decade, from 2010 – 2013, funding decreased 11.4 percent. In 2013, Florida alone suffered a $67 million setback, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“What happened during those years? Republican budgets, sequester, government shutdowns,” Castor explained. “During this time, interest in biomedical research by the rest of the world increased.”