In Speech On The Senate Floor, Durbin Thanks Dr. Francis Collins For His Dedication As NIH Director

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) took to the Senate floor to honor Dr. Francis Collins as he prepares to step down from his position as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to return to his lab at NIH’s Human Genome Research Institute.

“He has led the NIH for 12 years, under three presidents – Democrat and Republican – making him the longest-tenured head of the agency since presidents began selecting NIH directors 50 years ago. What distinguishes Francis Collins’ tenure at the NIH, however, is not its length, but its extraordinary ambition and record of achievement,” said Durbin.

Durbin continued on by highlighting Dr. Collins’ extraordinary achievements during his tenure at the NIH, including the BRAIN Initiative, which mapped out the human brain; the Cancer Moonshot he launched with then-Vice President Joe Biden to invest in finding a cure for cancer; and the All of Us Program, an effort to collect data about the genomic basis of disease from one million volunteers to advance our knowledge about what causes disease and how to cure it.

“There are millions of people who have never heard of Francis Collins, but they are alive and healthy today because of the Human Genome Project and his ambitious agenda at NIH…He is an American treasure, and one of the most important scientists of our time,” Durbin continued. “As Dr. Collins prepares to end his historic tenure at NIH as director and return to his lab, I want to thank him for his tireless work, his good humor, for his good advice, and for his great friendship.”

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.

Over the past six years, Durbin worked on a bipartisan basis—and with considerable assistance and input from Dr. Collins—to increase NIH’s budget by more than 40 percent, from $30 billion in Fiscal Year 2015, to approximately $43 billion today. Durbin, who is Co-Chair of the Senate NIH Caucus, has introduced the American Cures Act and the American Innovation Act, a pair of bills that have provided the framework for annual, five percent funding increases for our nation’s medical and scientific agencies and programs, including the NIH.