Durbin, Graham Launch Senate NIH Caucus
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were joined at a briefing by Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Dr. Francis S. Collins today to announce the launch of the bipartisan Senate NIH Caucus. The goal of the NIH Caucus is to preserve our nation’s global competitiveness by highlighting the need for investments in cutting-edge research being performed by the agency – the foremost biomedical research institute in the world. NIH directly supports more than 400,000 jobs across the country, and every one dollar of NIH funding generates more than two dollar in local economic growth.
“Senator Graham and I formed the bipartisan NIH Caucus to bring awareness to the amazing work being performed by the National Institutes of Health and the value it adds to our country,” said Durbin. “I am especially honored to be joined today in this effort by a man I truly admire, my friend Dr. Francis Collins. Dr. Collins has told me often that with the support of sustained federal funding, there is no limit to what science can do to prevent, treat and cure diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. Let’s make that investment, and we’ll see our nation’s best and brightest researchers light up the scoreboard.”
“Groundbreaking and lifesaving research simply cannot be turned on and off like a light switch,” said Graham. “It is essential the United States remain a leader in biomedical research. We cannot afford to lag behind. I’m very proud to have founded this bipartisan caucus to discuss the steps we must take to strengthen the cutting-edge research done at NIH.”
“I am excited and honored about the launch of a bipartisan NIH caucus by Senators Durbin and Graham,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Today more than ever we have exceptional opportunities in medical science that can only be advanced through sustained funding for biomedical research.”
Today’s briefing also included presentations from leading researchers at the NIH: Director of the National Institute of Mental Health Dr. Tom Insel, Director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Dr. Chris Austin, and Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Dr. Nora Volkow.
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. More recently, due to sequestration and flat budgets, NIH has lost nearly 25 percent of its purchasing power since 2003, when adjusted for inflation. At NIH, the percentage of research grants that receive funding has declined almost every year for the past 10 years.
In addition to Senators Durbin and Graham, the NIH Caucus includes: U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN), U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN), U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME), U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS).
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