The National Institutes of Health (Nih) Funding and the Impact of Sequestrationby Representative Joyce Beatty
Posted on 2013-12-11
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Mrs. BEATTY. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, Congresswoman Jackie
Speier, for leading this important bi-partisan discussion on the
benefits of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the dire impact
that sequestration is having on NIH, its grantees, and our nation.
NIH makes important discoveries that improve health and save lives.
Thanks in large part to NIH-funded medical research, Americans today are living longer and healthier lives.
Life expectancy in the United States has increased and disability in people over age 65 has dramatically decreased in the past 3 decades because of the important research taking place at NIH.
NIH is also a job creator--it has created hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs by funding scientists at universities and research institutions in every state across America and in countries around the globe.
These investments have led directly to better outcomes for cancer patients and increased the effectiveness of the treatments we have for HIV, influenza, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's, and hundreds of other diseases and disorders that affect millions of Americans.
More than 80% of NIH's budget goes to more than 300,000 research personnel at over 2,500 universities and research institutions.
In fiscal year 2013, Ohio received $777 million in NIH funding.
And my district, the third congressional district of Ohio, received 581 NIH grants, worth over $248 million.
NIH has historically funded the largest amount of federally funded research within my district at The Ohio State University.
In 2012, NIH funded approximately 25% of the overall research expenditures at The Ohio State University.
NIH grants went utilized on collaborations between The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children's Hospital to accelerate basic scientific discoveries into life-saving medical advances.
In particular, the discovery of microRNAs, small cellular molecules involved with biological regulation, is now known to play a pivotal role in the growth and spread of prostate, ovarian, colon and lung cancers, as well as other diseases.
NIH grants were also provided to The Ohio State University to establish a research center devoted to the study of tobacco use patterns, research that will help the Food and Drug Administration put science behind its new role in regulating tobacco.
NIH funds investigators in my district, at Nationwide Children's Hospital, to study gene therapy as a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, the most common genetic defect that results in infant mortality.
[[Page E1835]] At Nationwide Children's Hospital, NIH funding makes possible important clinical trials of viral therapy for solid cancer tumors in children, testing of new agents against childhood tumors, research to prevent and treat infant prematurity, and the furthering of understanding of the mechanisms of autism prevention.
In fact, the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital is ranked 6th for NIH funding among free-standing children's hospitals in the United States.
Hyper Tech Research, Bertec Corporation, Battelle, and BioOhio--all of these outstanding companies in the third congressional district of Ohio benefit from NIH research funding for biotechnology, drug development, medical devices, and health care.
But, just as NIH dollars that flow to Ohio help grow the state's economy, a reduction in those dollars have hurt us.
On March 1, 2013 sequestration required NIH to cut 5 percent--$1.55 billion--of its fiscal year 2013 budget.
These drastic cuts affected all NIH programs, projects, and activities--every single area of medical research was negatively affected.
NIH now has approximately 700 fewer competitive research grants.
They now have approximately 750 fewer new patients in their clinical center.
The development of more effective cancer drugs is being delayed.
Research on a universal flu vaccine is being delayed.
Research on prevention of debilitating chronic conditions is being delayed.
These delays are proof that sequestration has significantly undermined medical progress across all disciplines of research on the full spectrum of diseases and conditions.
We cannot continue to compromise our nation's future economic growth and security by blindly cutting federal investment in areas that are critical to our nation's ability to innovate and compete in the global economy.
As much as half of U.S. economic growth since World War Ills a result of technological innovation, much of which resulted directly from federally-funded scientific research.
The private sector, which requires rapid returns in investment, relies on the federal government to fund basic scientific research.
Sustained support for federal research, education, and student aid programs pay dividends by building human, scientific and technological capital for our nation.
We cannot afford to let the United States fall behind other countries, such as China, in such important areas as scientific research and innovation.
Our government must show a clear commitment to sustained funding of scientific research across the disciplines so that our nation can compete globally and we can build a better America for future generations.
Sequestration is not the answer to our nation's fiscal problems.
I urge my colleagues to oppose further cuts to nondefense discretionary programs.
The point of fiscal responsibility is to invest in these critical federal programs in order to provide a better life for all Americans, especially our children who are our future researchers and inventors.
Sustained investments in NIH are essential so that our nation can train the next generation to make tomorrow's health discoveries and to continue America's scientific leadership.
The work done by NIH helps grow our economy, improve our health, and has made our nation stronger and more secure.
We should not weaken them.