The Medical Research Protection Act of 2013by Representative Jim McDermott
Posted on 2013-02-14
in the house of representatives
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Medical
Research Protection Act of 2013. This bill will protect our national
investments in biomedical research from impending automatic federal
budget cuts. If we do nothing, these automatic budget cuts or
``sequester'' will cancel $85 billion in federal spending between March
1 and September 30, including roughly $2 billion from the National
Institutes of Health budget. That amounts to a failure to fund or renew
funding for some 2,000 grants at America's research universities, where
the world's top scientists are discovering treatments for diseases like
cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and HIV/AIDS. This bill would ensure
that NIH's budget is protected for the balance of this fiscal year.
I have opposed the sequester--a senseless and irresponsible approach to deficit reduction--since day one. I voted against the bill that put the sequester in place, and I have sponsored a bill with my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus to remove the entire sequester, to protect critical programs like Medicare, Head Start, Community Health Centers, and so many other priorities.
That said, Seattle's economy relies uniquely on federal funding for biomedical research. Science and technological innovation is the lifeblood of our local economy and a source of tremendous civic pride. The University of Washington receives more federal funding than any other public university in the nation, and is the state's third largest employer. The great majority of the UW's federal funds come from the NIH. This academic hub creates a spillover effect in the private sector that has made Seattle one of the brightest destinations for scientists the world over. It is no exaggeration to say that sequestration of research funding threatens the heart of Seattle's economy, which is why I am introducing a standalone measure today to stop cuts to the NIH.
To be clear, this bill will turn off the sequester for NIH from the period of March 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013, and reduce the amount of the sequester by that amount to avoid deeper cuts to other programs.