Friday, February 20, 2009

The Value of Congressional Champions

The value of a congressional champion is often immeasurable, but this week we can say without a doubt that it is at least 10 billion dollars for research. That's right, $10 billion.

In this case, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) led the effort to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health in the the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama Tuesday. Gardiner Harris of the New York Times wrote an excellent piece on how Sen. Specter was able to secure funding that could create as many as 70,000 jobs. Some key points:
...After money intended for highways, schools and states, it is the largest of chunk of financing in the budget and is almost three times the $3.5 billion first approved by the House.

... But for now, [Specter] said, future budget discussions for N.I.H. will begin at $40 billion, not $30 billion

... “I think it’s scandalous that we haven’t done more to cure cancer,” Mr. Specter said.
Definitely check out the full article.

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