U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, who has been appointed to serve on the Budget Conference Committee, visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to highlight the need for both parties to focus on a bipartisan budget that invests in economic growth.
"It's time for both parties to work together, find common ground, and pass a responsible budget that invests in economic growth," said Baldwin, "One thing we should be able to agree on is the need to pass a budget that creates jobs, strengthens the middle class and grows our economy."
Last week, Baldwin was named to the Budget Conference Committee where Democrats and Republicans will work together on a budget resolution. The conference will negotiate between the budgets passed this spring in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Baldwin is a member of the Senate Budget Committee, which in March passed a responsible budget that cuts the deficit, invests in the middle class, and grows our economy. It also replaces the arbitrary across the board sequester cuts to research, science and innovation.
Today at the UW, Baldwin met with university officials and researchers to focus on the importance of investments in research, science, and innovation to Wisconsin's economy.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) research investments in Wisconsin add more than $800 million to Wisconsin's economy every year. Wisconsin received 887 awards in FY2013 for a total of just over $362 million. Estimates show that every dollar of NIH grant support generates $2 for the local economy per year.
Sequestration has reduced the NIH FY13 budget by 5 percent, or $1.55 billion. By law, these cuts were applied evenly across all programs, projects, and activities, meaning that every area of medical research has been affected. Cuts to the grant program are predicted to lead to the direct loss of 25,000 high-paying jobs across the country.
"According to independent economists, the damaging cuts from the sequester are slowing down the economy. Locking in these devastating cuts will gut investments in research, science, and innovation," Baldwin said.
As a result of sequestration, NIH will issue 700 fewer competitive research grants, admit 750 fewer patients to its Clinical Center, and forgo increases in stipends for FY13 National Research Service Award recipients. According to NIH, these cuts will delay progress on, and possibly jeopardize, ground-breaking medical breakthroughs, including work on new cancer drugs, a universal flu vaccine, and prevention of debilitating chronic conditions.
The House Republican budget, authored by Congressman Paul Ryan, locks in sequestration, resulting in deep cuts to investments in Wisconsin's medical research, science and innovation.
Even before sequestration, the NIH had lost about 20 percent of its purchasing power since 2003. The House Republican budget funds NIH at a level that is $8 billion below the amount allocated in the Senate budget. To put that figure in perspective, $8 billion is more than the entire amount that the agency spends on research on cancer and cardiovascular diseases combined.
"We need work together to pass a budget that invests in economic growth and improves our competitiveness. In order for America to out-innovate the rest of the world and create an economy built to last, we must protect and strengthen our investments in research, science, and innovation," Baldwin said.