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House Cancer Caucus Co-Chairs Kilmer and Higgins Push Back Against Cuts to Cancer Research in President Trump’s Budget Proposal

May 24, 2017
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Two co-chairs of the House Cancer Caucus, Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) and Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), pushed back against a President Trump budget proposal that includes severe cuts to scientific research into stopping the spread of cancer.

Under the President’s budget proposal the National Cancer Institute would face a cut of $1 billion. The White House budget also proposes to reduce the reimbursement rate for NIH grants, potentially costing NCI designated cancer centers around the country millions of dollars.  The National Institutes of Health would see its budget drop from $31.8 billion to $26 billion and the National Science Foundation, that distributes a variety of grants, would be cut 11 percent overall.

“This budget proposal doesn’t do right by Americans impacted by cancer,” said Kilmer. “Too many folks are grappling with this illness. It cuts across all communities and backgrounds. That’s why we are going to fight for a plan that doubles down on cutting-edge research that is key to helping top scientists better stop the spread of cancer.”

“The only failure in cancer research is when you quit or are forced to quit due to lack of funding,” said Higgins. “Biomedical research is good for the economy and the jobs it supports and it is good for the good it does to provide new clues to cancer, better treatments and hope to those forced to take on this fight for their lives.”

The President’s budget marks a significant shift from past efforts. Medical research, and cancer research in particular, has received bipartisan support. For example, efforts by President Clinton and a Republican-led Congress prompted a doubling in funding for the National Institutes of Health, from 13.7 billion in fiscal year 1998 to 27.1 billion in fiscal year 2003. The Trump budget would reverse some of those gains.

The World Health Organization reports 1 in 6 deaths worldwide are due to cancer, with 14 million new cancer cases reported in 2012 and that number expected to increase by 70% over the next two decades.  In the U.S. the National Cancer Institute estimates there were more than 1.685 million new cancer cases and over 595,000 deaths due to cancer last year alone.  The cost of cancer care in the United States totaled nearly $125 billion in 2010 and could reach $156 billion by 2020.