Democratic Reps. Susan Davis and Scott Peters, along with members of San Diego’s medical research community joined together on Monday, March 17, to call on Congress to increase federal funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds critical medical research.
Budget cuts threaten this research and San Diego’s economy. Rep. Davis is leading a bipartisan effort by asking her colleagues to add their names to a letter to convince appropriators to allocate $32 billion to fund NIH grants in fiscal year 2015.
“San Diego is the cornerstone of medical research in the fight against deadly and debilitating diseases,” said Rep. Davis. “Virtually everyone knows someone who is struggling with a disease where NIH funding is used to find a cure. In recent years, we have seen that funding threatened by budget cuts, which affects medical advancements and our local economy.”
“Providing robust funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is necessary for our country’s long-term competitiveness,” Rep. Peters said. “In San Diego, our universities and research institutes both large and small rely on NIH for the grant funding that allows them to do their work. If we want to make sure that the next discoveries are made here in America, and that the best and brightest scientists in the world that we educate and train choose to stay here, we need to get NIH funding back on track. I’ll keep pushing with this bipartisan coalition to get it done.”
Rep. Davis held a roundtable discussion on the importance of NIH funding in San Diego with Rep. Peters, Dr. Gary S. Firestein, Dean and Associate Vice Chancellor of Translational Medicine and Director, Clinical and Translational Research Institute at UCSD; Mary Ball, President/CEO Alzheimer’s Association’s San Diego/Imperial Chapter; Lynda Barbour, Southern California Government Relations Associate Director, American Cancer Society Action Network; MaryAnn Borja, American Cancer Society Action Network Legislative Ambassador; James Cota, American Cancer Society Action Network Legislative Ambassador; Jimmy Jackson, VP Public Policy, BIOCOM; Karen Hooper, Executive Director, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
So far, more than 40 members of the House of Representatives have signed the Davis letter. San Diego County receives about $800 million in NIH funding every year. The funding grants from the NIH flow to thousands of scientist in laboratories throughout the San Diego region.