Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Champions Support NIH Funding in Economic Stimulus

Representatives Susan Davis (CA) and Brian Bilbray (CA) are inviting their colleagues in the House of Representatives to join them on a letter to President-elect Obama and congressional leaders in support of significant new funding for NIH in the economic stimulus package (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009). Contact your Representative immediately and urge them to sign the letter. The deadline for members of Congress to sign the letter is January 14, at 2 p.m. (EST).

The text of the letter is below. Take action now!

Dear Mr. President-elect,

We look forward to working closely with you to address the economic downturn in the United States and the effort to create millions of new jobs while investing in our infrastructure. We recognize the challenges we as a nation face and appreciate the monumental nature of the task you are undertaking to achieve economic recovery. We also believe that a crucial component of future investment, job creation, and improvements in human health in the United States is biomedical research funding through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As you are aware, investment in the NIH has led to numerous medical discoveries improving the health of Americans and saving lives. Funding to the NIH goes to prevent diseases as well as treat common and rare illnesses. Those with chronic conditions lead more productive and better lives as a result of the research supported by NIH.

In addition to its contributions to human health, NIH supports discoveries that enable critical advances in green energy, environmental protection, agriculture, homeland security and even law enforcement. Biofuels are enabled by the biological understanding that resulted from NIH funding. DNA forensic testing at crime scenes results from our understanding of genomics and the Human Genome Project.

NIH funding also directly supports quality employment for Americans, making it an excellent choice for the stimulus package. In fact, each grant approved by NIH goes to create or sustain seven jobs with salaries above $50,000, according to estimates. We will need to produce high-paying and high-skilled jobs to achieve long-term economic recovery.

A recent study by FamiliesUSA also found the great economic benefits to biomedical research. NIH's spending of $22.8 billion in 2007 generated more than $50 billion in related economic activity, which created or supported more than 350,000 jobs nationwide. These jobs generated more than $18 billion in wages in all 50 states.

Lawrence Summers, the incoming director of the National Economic Council, wrote in the Financial Times last year, "Over the long run, few issues are as important to a nation's long-term economic security and global standing as being a leader in moving life sciences forward."

We believe the economic stimulus package under discussion gives us a historic opportunity to support biomedical research through the NIH. This funding will create and sustain high-paying jobs while improving the health and lives of Americans. We urge you to consider significant new funding in the stimulus package. Thank you very much for your time and attention to this important matter.

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