Today, dozens of doctors, scientists, and students from the University of Maryland School of Medicine rallied in downtown Baltimore in support of medical research funding. The event was part of a national "Day of Action" drawing attention to the work the National Institutes of Health does to save lives and inspire hope.
Medical research is our best hope for finding cures, improving treatments and gaining a better understanding of the complex causes of diseases that affect millions of Americans. But here in Maryland, it's also essential to our economy. The growing life sciences sector has generated one third of all job gains over the past decade and is now supporting more than $9.6 billion in salaries for Maryland families.
Unfortunately, the federal funding that supports medical research is in jeopardy. Under the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, medical research grants from the National Institutes of Health -- half of which go to local research agencies -- could be slashed and many scientists and lab technicians could lose their jobs.
Though I couldn't be with them in person, I joined those in white lab coats in Baltimore today in spirit and thank them for their commitment to this cause. It's not too late to find real solutions to our federal budget pressures without costing jobs and life-saving research.