Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement on the detrimental effects of cuts to medical research as a result of sequestration:
“Mr. President, I would like to speak today about the importance of federal investment in biomedical research. There are many reasons to invest in biomedical research, but the two most important reasons are very simple: biomedical research saves lives, and it is good for Pennsylvania’s economy and the Nation’s economy. A thriving biomedical sector creates jobs, and we simply cannot afford, from a public health or economic standpoint, not to support biomedical progress.
I have been a strong and vocal advocate for federal funds to support biomedical research, including funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, I authored a letter in support of funding for the NIH; the letter in 2013 was signed by a bipartisan group of 51 senators.
In 2012, Pennsylvania researchers received $1,431,589,539 ($1.4 billion) in grants from the National Institutes of Health; the state is ranked 4th in the Nation for the number of grants awarded. The funding in 2012 supported over 3,400 competitive grants to almost 100 Pennsylvania companies or universities; in turn, these grants supported thousands of jobs across the state – an estimated 2,500 in-state jobs and total employment impact of over 24,000 jobs.
Long-term deficits are not sustainable, and government spending must be reduced, however we should not indiscriminately slash funding for good programs, like medical research, that benefit Pennsylvanians, ensure our global competitiveness and invest in our economic future. I have been a champion for the continued growth of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which drives progress of biomedical research.
While the United States has been the world leader in medical research, other nations such as China are dramatically ramping up their investment in medical research, creating new competition and threatening America’s dominance in the field. We must continue to invest in medical research and maintain the capacity we currently have to support work that benefits all Americans.
We risk a scenario in which promising young researchers, seeing the struggles of their mentors and older colleagues to secure funding for their work, will choose a different path, putting a whole generation of scientists at risk. That capacity, that talent, once lost will not easily come back. Failure to invest in research now is a failure to invest in our own future, and is incredibly shortsighted. We must work to support the basic research that has the potential to lead to major advances in medical treatments and improved outcomes for patients.”