Durbin Introduces American Cures Act and American Innovation Act

Rep. Foster joins Durbin to introduce the American Innovation Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced two pieces of 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. Durbin is sponsoring both the American Cures Act and the American Innovation Act in the Senate. U.S. Representative Bill Foster (D-IL-11) is sponsoring the American Innovation Act in the House. 

“Where would we be in America today without research and innovation? We certainly would not have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, or rapid testing, and a chance to the end this pandemic. For years, I have said that the most important investment we can make in our future is in biomedical and scientific research. If we want to find treatments and cures to disease, spur job growth, improve national security, and develop technology of the future, then we must empower our federal research agencies. The American Cures Act and the American Innovation Act provide the robust funding needed to ensure America leads the world in breakthrough discoveries,” Durbin said.

“It’s more important than ever that we defend America’s place as a world leader in scientific innovation and 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. I’m proud to work with Senator Durbin on this legislation to grow federal investment in scientific research.”

The American Cures Act 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 would provide annual budget increases of five percent plus 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 Services, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Science Directorate.  

Taken together, these steady, long-term investments would allow our nation’s biomedical and scientific research agencies to plan and manage strategic growth while maximizing efficiencies. 

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 less than 10 percent.  Between 1960 and 1980, federal R&D spending as a share of GDP averaged about 1.4 percent per year.  However, federal R&D investments now average just under 0.8 percent year.  This steady decline has led to a cumulative $2  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, the American Cures Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The American Innovation Act, along with Durbin and Foster, is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

The American Cures Act is supported by: Research!America; American Heart Association; American Lung Association; Defense Health Research Consortium; The Alzheimer's Association; The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research; Veterans for Common Sense; Fight Colorectal Cancer; ACT for NIH, The American Society for Microbiology; The National Multiple Sclerosis Society; GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer; CURE Epilepsy; The Celiac Disease Foundation; The Quinism Foundation; Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO); Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance; Theresa's Research Foundation; The VHL Alliance; Alzheimer's Impact Movement; The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation; The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; Endocrine Society; Beyond Celiac; The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation; The Sergeant Sullivan Circle; SHEPHERD Foundation; American Association for Dental Research; Coalition for the Life Sciences; Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; University of Illinois System; Northwestern University;  and Advocate Aurora Health. 

The American Innovation Act is supported by: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-USA), Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), American Geophysical Union (AGU)Association of American Universities (AAU), and Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).