Before Meeting With Illinois MS Society, Durbin Calls For A Renewed Commitment To Biomedical Research On The Senate Floor

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Following a speech on the United States Senate Floor urging Congress to make federal funding for treatments and cures to diseases like multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis a national priority, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) met today with members of the Illinois Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society who are in Washington, DC for the National MS Conference. A photo of today’s meeting, which was attending by Illinois MS Society President Holly Messick, will be available shortly here.

During today’s meeting, Durbin discussed the American Cures Act, legislation he introduced earlier this year to support the future of research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Defense Health Program (DHP), and the Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program. Durbin first introduced this legislation – which is endorsed by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society – during the previous Congress last year.

“The United States is at risk for not reaching the potential for cures to deadly and debilitating diseases because we are no longer investing adequately in basic science. This kind of research holds promise to better understand and treat disorders like multiple sclerosis. MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. And there is no cure. Today, more than 2.3 million people have been diagnosed with MS worldwide – including about 20,000 people in my home state of Illinois,” Durbin said.


“The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has been sponsoring “Walk MS” since 1988, and have raised more than $870 million to support cutting-edge research. Today, I met with members of the Illinois MS Society who have traveled all the way to Washington to share their personal stories. They are doing their part. But if the Federal Government is going to do its part, Congress needs to make funding biomedical research a top national priority.”


Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate Floor is available here.

In 2012, fifty-three percent of all funding for basic research came from the federal government. Yet as a percentage of the total federal budget, the federal government spends two-thirds less on research and development today than it did in 1965. At NIH – the foremost biomedical research institute in the world – the percentage of research grants that receive funding has declined almost every year for the past 10 years.


The American Cures Act would reverse that trend by setting a steady growth rate in federal appropriations for biomedical research conducted at NIH, CDC, DHP, and the Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program. Each year, the bill would increase funding for each agency and program at a rate of GDP-indexed inflation plus 5 percent. This steady, long-term investment would allow the agencies to plan and manage strategic growth while maximizing efficiencies.