Senators Casey and Burr Call on Appropriators to Prioritize Funding for Medical Research

In their Letter, Senators Casey and Burr Highlight Economic Consequences of Funding / Pennsylvania is One of the Nation’s Lead Recipients of NIH Dollars

Senators Casey and Burr Call on Appropriators to Prioritize Funding for Medical Research

Washington, DC- As Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations are being finalized, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) reiterated the bipartisan support that exists for medical research funding in a new letter to Senate appropriators.  The Casey-Burr letter highlighted an earlier letter, signed by a bipartisan group of 50 senators, and underscored the fact that National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding is crucial for jobs across Pennsylvania and the country.

“There are many reasons to invest in medical research, but the two most important reasons are: it saves lives, and it creates jobs,” said Senator Casey. “We simply cannot afford, from a public health or economic standpoint, to ignore medical research.”

The NIH is our country’s premier institution for medical research.  NIH research has a significant economic impact, directly supporting hundreds of thousands of researchers, assistants and other lab and administrative staff, while indirectly supporting even more jobs in the fields of pharmaceutical and medical device research, development and manufacturing.

Senators Casey and Burr also previously wrote a letter to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions asking for NIH funding to be maintained in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

The text of Senators Casey and Burr’s letter is below:

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
Chairwoman
Senate Committee on Appropriations

The Honorable Richard C. Shelby
Vice Chairman
Senate Committee on Appropriations

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies

The Honorable Jerry Moran
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies

Dear Chairwoman Mikulski, Vice Chairman Shelby, Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Moran:

As you and your colleagues finalize the Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations bills, we would like to reiterate our strong support for funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bill.

Enclosed with this letter is a Dear Colleague letter we authored in 2013 to your Committee, expressing our ongoing commitment to NIH funding.  This letter had the support of 50 additional Senators.  We sent a similar letter in the fall to the Committee on the Budget, signed by many of the same Senators and with the support of six additional Senators.  As the enclosed Dear Colleague letter demonstrates, the NIH enjoys broad, bipartisan support.

We therefore urge you to continue your support for the NIH and thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator

Richard Burr
United States Senator

The previous letter to appropriators is below:

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
Chairwoman
Senate Committee on Appropriations

The Honorable Richard C. Shelby
Vice Chairman
Senate Committee on Appropriations

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies

The Honorable Jerry Moran
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies

Dear Chairwoman Mikulski, Vice Chairman Shelby, Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Moran:

As you and your colleagues begin to work on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 appropriations bills, we respectfully request that you maintain a strong commitment to funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bill. We believe that it is essential to continue federal support for medical research because of the potential health benefits for all Americans and the importance of ensuring that our Nation remains at the forefront of medical research.

The NIH is our country’s premier institution for medical research, supporting research in all fifty states. It offers our best hope for treating or curing debilitating diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and so many other illnesses that American families battle every day. It is through the innovative medical research supported by the NIH that we may have a chance to contain the increasing health care costs associated with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. A large portion of the projected increase in health care expenditures in the coming decades is due to demographic changes and the escalating costs associated with many medical conditions and chronic diseases that cost the federal government and private sector billions of dollars each year.

Our investment in the NIH has yielded an unprecedented number of scientific advances that have improved health outcomes and contributed significantly to the Nation’s economic growth. NIH grants fund basic medical and translational research that turns bench-side findings into bedside interventions for patients. Unfortunately, America is losing ground as the world leader in research and development and researchers are struggling to secure funding. As NIH grants get more competitive, researchers can easily spend half their careers working before receiving a grant, resulting in promising, talented young researchers being discouraged from the field of biomedical research and some investigators deciding to abandon scientific research altogether or to conduct their research outside the United States.

We all recognize the difficult choices that need to be made with respect to the budget as we seek to reduce the deficit. If we are to improve the health of Americans and the quality of their lives, we must continue to invest in areas like biomedical research that have the potential to save money in the future, improve the lives of Americans, and offer an economic return for our Nation. We urge you to consider the tremendous benefits of a sustained investment in the NIH, and ask you to remember our Nation’s role as a world leader in biomedical research and the impact this research has on patients as your Committee makes funding decisions for FY 2014. Investing in research today will yield cures and therapies for patients tomorrow.

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