Durbin, Foster, Underwood Introduce American Cures Act And American Innovation Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL-11) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) today introduced bicameral legislation to restore the United States’ commitment to breakthrough scientific and biomedical research.  The American Cures Act and the American Innovation Act would create mandatory funds to provide steady, predictable funding for breakthrough research at America’s top research agencies, allowing the United States to remain a leader in development and discovery for decades to come.

“This legislation will allow America’s smartest scientists and researchers to spend less time figuring out how to cut their budgets and more time finding new ways to produce clean energy and clean water, as well as develop new cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease,” said Durbin.  “In the last two centuries, U.S. government support for scientific research has helped split the atom, put a man on the moon, create the Internet, and map the human genome.  In order for the United States to keep up, it is crucial that we support our sciences for the betterment of our future.  The American Cures Act and American Innovation Act do just that.”

“It’s more important than ever that we defend America’s place as a world leader in scientific progress,” Foster said.  “Since World War II, investments in science and technology have helped the U.S. lead the world in new innovations, grow the economy, create millions of jobs, and provide critical advancements to our national security.  As we confront new challenges, we need to make sure our scientists have the resources they need to perform their work at the highest levels and help us maintain our role as global leaders in research and innovation.”

“Investments in biomedical and science research are crucial to improving health outcomes, creating better medical treatments, and supporting high-quality jobs for families across the country. Federal investment has slipped in recent years, and robust, sustained funding is needed. The American Cures Act will ensure our country’s investment and innovation in world-class life sciences and biomedical research continues, led by Illinois,” said Underwood.

The American Cures Act—of which Representative Underwood is the lead House sponsor—would provide annual budget increases of five percent plus inflation at America’s top four biomedical research agencies: the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense Health Program, and the Veterans Medical and Prosthetics Research Program.

The American Innovation Act—of which Representative Foster is the lead House sponsor—would provide annual budget increases of five percent 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 Science Directorate.  This steady, long-term investment would allow the agencies to plan and manage strategic growth while maximizing efficiencies.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget request would devastate funding for medical and scientific research by proposing to cut funding at the National Institutes of Health by $5 billion (or 12 percent), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $750 million (or more than 10 percent), the National Science Foundation by nearly a billion dollars (12 percent), and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science by $1.1 billion (or more than 16 percent) from FY19 funding levels.

Research and development (R&D) funding in the United States has been lagging in recent decades. In the 1960’s, the United States invested 17 percent of its discretionary budget on research and development—that number is now down to nine percent.  Between 1960 and 1980, federal R&D spending as a share of GDP averaged 1.52 percent per year.  However, federal R&D investments now average just under 0.8 percent year.  This steady decline has led to a cumulative $1.5 trillion research investment deficit.  Meanwhile, China’s research intensity (GDP expenditures on R&D) has increased sharply since the early 2000’s – if this trend continues, China will soon surpass the U.S.

Along with Durbin and Underwood, the American Cures Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), as well as U.S. Representative Bill Foster (D-IL-11).

The American Innovation Act, along with Durbin and Foster, is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), as well as U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Bobby Rush (D-IL-01), Jim McGovern (D-MA-02), and Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14).

The American Cures Act is supported by: the American Heart Association, Research!America, the National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Arthritis Foundation, ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, as well as many Illinois health and hospital systems, including Advocate Aurora Health, University of Chicago Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Loyola University Health System, Sinai Health System, Northwestern Medicine, and AMITA Health.

The American Innovation Act is supported by: Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, American Geophysical Union, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and the Task Force on American Innovation.