Two top senators are pairing up to bolster support for federal research — and to find a way to fund it.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will co-chair the Senate’s newest caucus, dedicated specifically to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The caucus will focus on the agency’s waning ability to fund research after losing 25 percent of its purchasing power since 2003, which the senators attribute the decline to “sequestration and flat budgets.”
“As a result of this decline, the U.S. is missing opportunities to discover cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and countless other diseases,” they wrote in a release.
Funding for the NIH is already a driving force behind a bipartisan House bill known as 21st Century Cures. That bill, which comes from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, includes $10 billion for the agency.
I think this is good news. I hope increases attention will help bolster research. Research isn’t enough. Advances don’t happen until people get effective treatment and they are covered by provider plans.