MARCH 18, 2014
SAN DIEGO — Reps. Susan Davis and Scott Peters of San Diego met with major players in the city’s medical and scientific research community Monday to discuss a push to increase federal funding in the president’s budget.
San Diego institutions, including UC San Diego, receive about $800 million each year from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH. This cash flow was reduced during the sequester budget process in 2013.
Davis, a Democrat, along with Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., is circulating a letter that asks the leadership of the House Committee on Appropriations to increase funding for the NIH to $32 billion in the next fiscal year.
That’s $1.8 billion more than is listed in President Barack Obama’s proposed budget.
While the president’s envisioned allocation is an increase over last year’s $29.1 billion, it’s below the pre-sequester level of $30.8 billion.
NIH funding essentially has been flat during the past decade, which has caused a multiyear push from certain legislators and research organizations to increase the number of dollars flowing into the agency. The NIH funds the work of more than 300,000 research workers nationwide, covering everything from cancer studies to neurological analysis to clinical trials on Alzheimer’s disease.
Davis has collected signatures from 56 colleagues. The move comes as House Republicans pan the president’s spending plan, with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan calling it “a campaign brochure.”
Aaron Hunter, a spokesman for Davis, said his boss remains undeterred by the budget rhetoric.
“I think it’s just a matter of Susan being able to convince her colleagues that it’s a doable number,” Hunter said