At a press conference at Weill Cornell Medical College today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney joined Weill Cornell Dean Dr. Laurie Glimcher, State Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Micah Kellner, City Council Member Jessica Lappin, and Weill Cornell researchers, students and patients to decry the harmful impact of federal budget sequestration on medical research (see photo, attached; caption below). The legislators urged Congress to act before Friday, March 1, the deadline to trigger sequestration, which will impose $85 billion in automatic spending cuts on the federal budget, with a disproportionate share of the cuts being inflicted on federal funding for medical research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies.
U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn), said, "New York's world-class medical research institutions like Weill Cornell Medical College stand at the forefront of scientific innovation and discovery and the development of cutting-edge technology. They play a critical role in developing new strategies and treatment to save and prolong the lives of millions of people all over the world, and are also critical generators of our continuing economic recovery and job growth. I urge House leadership to avoid triggering a sequestration of federal funding that will impose draconian cuts to the research and development programs that are our hope for the future. I am determined to join colleagues in both parties and both houses of Congress to prevent our nation from being forced into this entirely manufactured fiscal crisis."
Dean Dr. Laurie Glimcher of Weill Cornell Medical College said, "Medical research has opened the door to new treatments for cancer, cardiovascular disease and many other illnesses, treatments that have saved lives and substantially improved the quality of others. At Weill Cornell we are poised to continue the fight but sequestration will undermine these efforts and prevent us from fully building on the promise of new discoveries."
New York State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) said, AWashington must stop dangling crucial programs over a cliff for the sake of partisan political games. The medical researchers we're standing with look years ahead when they plan their work -- it's time for Congressional Republicans to do the same and step back from this doomsday budgeting model they've adopted."
New York State Assembly Member Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan) said, "It is time the leadership of Congress wakes up and recognizes that budget sequestration will devastate medical research and future scientific advancement while instantaneously crippling our economy."
New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan) said, "With nine world-class research institutions and twenty-six medical facilities, New York City is a powerhouse in the field of medicine. Budget sequestration threatens medical advances and our local economy."
Unless Congress acts, on Friday, $85 billion in federal funds will be automatically sliced from the federal budget through sequestration. These cuts will hit disproportionately at federal funding for medical research, with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimating that sequestration will reduce funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Fiscal Year 2013 by $2.5 billion, or approximately 8.2%, prompting former NIH Director Elias Zerhouni to write in The Washington Post that sequestration "will impact science for generations to come." Medical schools and teaching hospitals would lose more than $1 billion nationally. Approximately $167 million in funding could be lost in New York State alone. According to a 2010 Tripp Umbach report, New York receives an economic return of $7.50 for each research dollar invested in New York's medical schools. Therefore, a $167 million loss in NIH funding would equate to an overall loss of approximately $1.255 billion to New York's economy and could result in significant job losses.
As the principal federal agency supporting medical research, NIH spent more than $30 billion in Fiscal Year 2012. More than 80 percent of its budget is devoted to supporting more than 300,000 researchers at thousands of universities and research institutions across the country, with over half supporting medical schools and teaching hospitals that stand at the forefront of American scientific and healthcare research efforts and medical advances.