HIGGINS ANNOUNCES BIPARTISAN NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH CAUCUS
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announces the formation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Caucus, dedicated to increasing NIH funding and support for biomedical research. Higgins co-chairs the NIH Caucus with Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and Peter King (NY-2).
Of the NIH’s budget, 92% directly supports research awards, programs, centers, training programs, and research and development contracts. Eighty-two percent is competitively awarded through over 55,000 research and training grants to over 300,000 researchers across the country. But as grant applications increase, dollars to fund research opportunities are shrinking, and potential innovation is stifled by stagnant funding sources.
On the Floor of the House of Representatives, Higgins spoke about the critical importance of the NIH and the mission of the NIH Caucus.
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Globally, the National Institutes of Health work to protect against bioterrorist attacks and disease outbreaks. Domestically, their groundbreaking research provides treatments and cures for devastating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, and the more than 400,000 jobs provided through the National Institutes of Health bolster our economy.
However, when we account for inflation, funding for the National Institutes of Health peaked in 2003. This budgetary reality has forced the NIH to administer fewer competitive research grants, admit fewer patients to their clinical trials, and ultimately, fall behind scientific discoveries.
Mr. Speaker, America cannot afford to continue to underfund the National Institutes of Health. This is why I started the House NIH Caucus with Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Peter King. I urge my colleagues to join us as we work together to develop a plan to increase the purchasing power of the National Institutes of Health. The time to act is now.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Investments in the NIH yield substantial public health and economic benefits. Treatments and cures produced today decrease long-term healthcare costs. Every $1 of funding put towards the NIH generates double that in local economic growth. Efforts by the NIH have produced 6,659 unique patents from 2003 to 2012. For every $10 million increase in funding targeted for a particular disease leads to 3.1 biotechnology or pharmaceutical patents, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Inventions funded by the NIH create additional private sector investment, and keep the United States’ place as a world leader in medical research and development.
Higgins has long been a champion of funding for medical research. In February 2015, he introduced the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act (H.R. 531), which would increase the budget for the NIH by over $50 billion over six years. In addition to the NIH Caucus, Higgins serves on the Congressional Cancer Caucus and is a member of the Alzheimer’s Task Force. In the fiscal year 2015, Rep. Higgins’s Western New York Congressional District earned 108 grant awards from the NIH, totaling over $40 million awarded to institutions like Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, CUBRC, Therapyx, and the University at Buffalo.
For more information and to join the NIH Caucus, please contact Leslie Brady in Rep. Higgins’s office at (202) 225-3306 or by email at Leslie.Brady@mail.house.gov.