Durbin Applauds President's State of the Union Commitment to Breakthrough Research & Discovery
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) – author of The American Innovation Act and The American Cures Act – applauded President Obama’s commitment in last night’s State of the Union to supporting breakthrough developments in scientific and biomedical research.
“Last night, the President committed to innovation, and it was music to my ears to hear him talk about medical research and the difference it can make in the United States and in the world,” Durbin said.
Senator Durbin spoke on the Senate Floor earlier in the day to urge his colleagues to continue investing in research that is devoted to finding cures and treatments to diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. Last night, President Obama announced a new national effort to find a cure for cancer.
“How many of our families and friends are suffering and fighting cancer right now? We know that they’re looking for hope, they’re looking for drugs, they’re looking for something that will break through and give them a chance at life,” Durbin said. “That’s why I believe this biomedical research is so critical.”
Before the State of the Union, Durbin met with U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) and his guests, Kimberly, Jon, and Jacky Wade from Jerseyville, Illinois. Jacky’s twin brother, Jonny, lost his battle with brain cancer this past Christmas Eve. Durbin joined Davis and the Wade family in wearing matching wristbands to the speech to show their support for pediatric cancer research.
Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate Floor is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate Floor is available here.
In December, Congress approved the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2016 which dramatically increases overall funding for breakthrough scientific and biomedical research based on targeted funding levels set by Durbin’s American Cures Act. In total, the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2016 bill includes nearly $42 billion in funding to support the research at the nation’s following premier federal research agencies:
- National Institutes of Health: $32.08 billion in funding;
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $7.23 billion in funding;
- Department of Defense Health Program: $1.93 billion in funding, included in the Omnibus by Durbin, Vice Chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, as part of the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Defense Appropriations Act;
- Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program: $630.7 million in funding, included in the Omnibus as part of a Durbin-authored amendment to the Senate-passed Fiscal Year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
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 lack of funding has led to a $1.5 trillion investment deficit and a growing number of America’s best young researchers are taking their talents to other industries – and other countries.
For several years, Durbin has championed increased investment to reverse this trend. Durbin authored The American Innovation Act and The American Cures Act to set steady growth rates in federal appropriations for biomedical and scientific research conducted at the nation’s premier federal research agencies.
The American Innovation Act would provide annual budget increases of 5 percent – over and above inflation – for cutting edge research at five important federal research agencies: The National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, the Department of Defense Science and Technology Programs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Scientific and Technical Research, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Directorate. More information on the bill is available here.
The American Cures Act would set 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. More information on the bill is available here.
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