U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) introduced legislation last week to increase funding for basic scientific research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), resources that are vital for Southeastern Pennsylvania's health and economic growth.
NIH is the nation's premier medical research center and it is facing budget cuts this year that pose a significant risk to America's disease fighting capabilities and global competitiveness. Congresswoman Schwartz introduced the Inspiring Scientific Research and Innovation Act (HR 1301) to restore and supplement this funding by appropriating $3 billion for NIH for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013.
"NIH research affects every family in America touched by serious health conditions and chronic disease," Congresswoman Schwartz said. "This research often takes years. It is not easily turned on or off."
NIH is the largest single source of biomedical research and these cuts jeopardize economic growth in communities in Pennsylvania and across the nation. Congresswoman Schwartz's bill will ensure that NIH resources continue to help Philadelphia's world-class academic medical centers, research centers and hospitals play a leading role in scientific innovation.
In 2012, Pennsylvania received NIH grant awards totaling more than $1.4 billion, the fourth highest in the country, supporting more than 23,000 jobs, according to a recent United for Medical Research analysis.
As a result of the mandatory budget cuts to NIH funding, Pennsylvania stands to lose more than 1,200 jobs and $73 million in grant awards. Overall, NIH generated $57.8 billion in economic output nationwide in 2012 alone.
The Inspiring Scientific Research and Innovation Act is a fiscally responsible investment in the nation's economic growth. To ensure that this funding does not increase the federal deficit, the bill eliminates wasteful tax breaks for corporate jets.
"In our efforts to reduce the deficit while sustaining our economic recovery, we must be clear about our priorities and values as a nation," Schwartz said. "We must make choices, but this one isn't hard. Congress should choose scientific advancement and cures for disease over taxpayer support for corporate jets."
Schwartz's bill is supported by the American Cancer Society, the Society for Women's Health Research, the Alliance for Aging Research, the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation, Inc., the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the Wistar Institute, and the Parkinson's Action Network.
"Programs within the NIH play an essential role in research to understand, fight and prevent ovarian cancer. Cuts in such programs will have an adverse impact on the nation's ability to make progress in conquering this deadly disease," said Robin Cohen, CEO of the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation, Inc.
"The effects of the federal sequestration on biomedical research are unprecedented. The cuts will interrupt vital research programs, halt research progress, and ultimately have a negative impact on public health," said Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., president and CEO of The Wistar Institute. "On behalf of the entire biomedical research community, we applaud and thank Congresswoman Schwartz for championing sustained funding for the NIH at this moment when the need is more urgent than ever."