Rep. Tom Cole and Sen. Roy Blunt Honored for Increasing Biomedical Research Funding
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) were honored with SfN’s 2017 Public Advocacy Award at SfN’s annual Capitol Hill Day. The award, which is given to leaders dedicated to advancing biomedical research, was presented to Rep. Cole and Sen. Blunt for their outstanding efforts in Congress that have resulted in significant funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
“This is an award we don’t give out every year but today we have two outstanding recipients,” said SfN President Richard Huganir as he presented the 2017 SfN Public Advocacy Award. “Congressman and Senator, you have been outstanding contributors to advocating the field of neuroscience through your tireless efforts to champion funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Society for Neuroscience thanks you for all your continued efforts.”
“Three years ago… our friends at NIH, who hadn’t had a penny increase in 12 years, made the case very effectively that they were 22 percent below in buying power where they’d been 12 years earlier,” said Sen. Blunt. “We made a commitment in the House in the years before that to double NIH funding and we did that.”
As the chairs of their respective appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding NIH, both members of Congress expressed that biomedical research funding, particularly research supported by NIH, has bipartisan, bicameral support that allows policymakers to come together for the common good. They have consistently secured bipartisan, bicameral support of strong funding for NIH, including the largest increase in NIH funding since 2003 for FY2016 and an addition $2 billion increase for FY2017. As the FY2018 and FY2019 budgets are being finalized, they are continuing their efforts to extend support for NIH.
“This is a point that has actually, in a divided and polarized time, brought Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, together,” Rep. Cole said. “It’s a very compelling case to be made as to why these investments will pay off for the American people and long term will save money.”
Highlighting the importance of having scientists and both chambers of Congress come together, Sen. Blunt reiterated that there is still much work to be done. “We have so much potential, particularly in the BRAIN Initiative,” said Sen. Blunt. “I think we ought to continue to have the dedication to NIH research until there is not NIH research left to be done.”
SfN applauds Rep. Cole and Sen. Blunt for securing funding for scientific research that will continue to improve the lives of people across the country and the world.