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America needs your help this morning.

Under the Bush Administration, science research funding in our country dropped or remained stagnant.  
This had a crushing effect on science research, and jeopardizes Americans health as well as our Country's economic strength.

Under Bush, we spent as much in one month in Iraq as we spend in an entire year on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget ($29 billion).

With the Obama stimulus plan, we have a chance to make science funding in this country a national priority.  

A pivotal vote for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) takes place today in the Senate Appropriations Committee on the economic recovery package.

Specifically, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) will offer an amendment to support $10 billion for NIH – This increase would help save and create new jobs now while investing in our nation’s long term health and economic strength.  

Health research leads to new cures for devastating illnesses and helps optimize healthcare.  

This Amendment is being proposed by a Republican, but the Science research and the health of our country is clearly a bipartisan issue.

Please contact your Senator this morning to ask them to vote in favor of the Specter amendment for NIH funding.

You can call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be directed to your Senator’s office.

Appropriations Committee Members:

   * Daniel Inouye, Chairman, Hawaii
   * Robert Byrd, West Virginia
   * Patrick Leahy, Vermont
   * Tom Harkin, Iowa
   * Barbara Mikulski, Maryland
   * Herb Kohl, Wisconsin
   * Patty Murray, Washington
   * Byron Dorgan, North Dakota
   * Dianne Feinstein, California
   * Richard Durbin, Illinois
   * Tim Johnson, South Dakota
   * Mary Landrieu, Louisiana
   * Jack Reed, Rhode Island
   * Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey
   * Ben Nelson, Nebraska
   * Mark Pryor, Arkansas
   * Jon Tester, Montana

   * Thad Cochran, Ranking Member, Mississippi
   * Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania
   * Kit Bond, Missouri
   * Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
   * Richard Shelby, Alabama
   * Judd Gregg, New Hampshire
   * Robert Bennett, Utah
   * Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas
   * Sam Brownback, Kansas
   * Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
   * George Voinovich, Ohio
   * Susan Collins, Maine
   * Lisa Murkowski, Alaska


I understand mistrust of Specter, but he has been a consistent friend to health science funding.  In fact his 2003 Amendment with Senator Harkin helped the NIH tremendously and di not win any friends on the GOP side of the aisle.  Even though every American benefits from investments in sceince through the NIH, Republicans called Specter's 2003 amendment "Pork".

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) shocked his colleagues during an angry speech late last Thursday when he labeled the National Institutes of Health "pigs" and implied that a fellow Republican senator was doing the NIH’s bidding.

"I hate to say it, but the NIH is one of the best agencies in the world," an angry Domenici said as he spoke in opposition to an amendment by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) to boost NIH funding by $1.5 billion. "But they’ve turned into pigs. You know, pigs! They can’t keep their oinks closed. They send a senator down there [to] argue as if they’re broke."

Originally posted to drational on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:05 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please call. (10+ / 0-)

    It's time for science and healthcare to be important in this country.

    •  Do you have more details on the amendment? (3+ / 0-)

      Does it fund research into specific diseases? How does it create jobs--in other words, how can we defend against the accusation of "pork" by the far right?

      Believe me, I'm all for more medical research funding, but I'd like to know more specifics, if you have them.

      Thanks for bringing this important issue to our attention. BTW, I'm from VT, so I'd be happy to call Pat Leahy's office when I know more.

      Sweet are the uses of adversity...Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It.

      by earicicle on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:17:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking as a researcher (7+ / 0-)

    in biomedical research who works for a principal investigator who is currently getting NIH funding I strongly applaud this move.  However, I sincerely hope that they don't just target the increased funding to one or two particular areas (i.e. like AIDS or cancer).  Of course I'm not saying those areas shouldn't see increases in funding, but if they are increased at the expense of other areas, it's going to hurt, not help a lot of biomedical research labs around the country.

    •  Agreed. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      madmsf, radarlady, Abra Crabcakeya

      For example, 1 million people in the United States have chronic fatigue syndrome. Federal government spending, last time I checked, clocks in annually at $4 million TOTAL, or roughly the price of a not-too-fancy cup of coffee per patient. Not gonna get much basic epidemiology info, much less effective treatments, finding the cause or cure, for that.

      Sweet are the uses of adversity...Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It.

      by earicicle on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:23:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So lobby for CFS research (0+ / 0-)

        But don't Poo Poo a 10 billion dollar stimulus opportunity when the NIH has been gutted for 6 years...

        •  Ummm... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          madmsf, drational, Abra Crabcakeya

          I'm not AT ALL "poo poo-ing" it. I'm just agreeing with the commenter that all the money should not be directed to one or two diseases. Conditions with big lobbies behind them, or celebrities to promote their causes, get lots of attention and lots of funding. Meanwhile, millions of patients languish--and researchers who have dedicated their lives to meaningful science scramble for funds.

          The chronic underfunding of medical research has meant a sickening climate of "competition" between "disease lobbies." This must stop.

          Sweet are the uses of adversity...Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It.

          by earicicle on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:52:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's a 10 billion dollar bonus (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      More money is not going to "hurt" biomedical research.

  •  Help research , great general idea.I would have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to read every word in the proposed amend ment and maybe ask waht many of them meant before even thinking about supporting it. Not in a trusting frame of mind after last 8 years ; amendment introduced by a Republican , and list of committee members reads like a rogues' gallery of crooked ppols ,many of the Dems as well as Republicans.
    Byrd , Landrieu Nelson about as untrustworthy as our own lovely contestant , Richard Shelby.Enough rush , rush, must do today legislation.

  •  oh man (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Abra Crabcakeya

    it's a specter production?  there's definitely something wrong with it then, specter is not a senator to trust with much of anything.

    i hate calling my senators...cornyn has cooties and bailey hutchison is annoying!  but of course, i'll do it.

    Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information. -- Edward R. Murrow

    by labwitchy on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:44:47 AM PST

    •  Specter is Good to the NIH (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Treg, dmhlt 66, earicicle, graycat13

      He offered and passed the Specter-Harkin Amedment in 2003:

         *  $1.8 billion for National Institutes of Health (NIH);
         * $600 million for Centers for Disease Control (CDC);
         * $400 million for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); and
         * $300 million for Health Professions with the rest allocated to other HRSA programs.

      •  i just don't like or trust him (0+ / 0-)

        which, of course, no matter what he's done good, colors my judgment.  i admit it.  i'm a yellow dog democrat raised in a lyndon johnson environment judgment regarding specter and most republicans is pretty much condensed into "i don't trust any of them."  i'm human.

        Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information. -- Edward R. Murrow

        by labwitchy on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:34:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  To Specter's credit, his own health scares (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      madmsf, Treg, drational, dmhlt 66, graycat13

      have probably left him more understanding of the need for funding research.

      Sweet are the uses of adversity...Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It.

      by earicicle on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:55:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for posting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drational, dmhlt 66

    and also for the reminder that the odious Domenici is GONE.

    "torture is the tool of the lazy, the stupid, and the pseudo-tough...the greatest recruiting tool that the terrorists have." Maj Gen Paul Eaton

    by whitewidow on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 08:17:45 AM PST

  •  Where does the grant money go? (6+ / 0-)

    I'll tell you.

    It pays part of my salary (the professor).  

    It pays my postdocs, my technicians, and my PhD students salaries and stipends--not a lot, but enough to live on (we don't get rich in this biz).  

    It even coughs up a little for the undergrad who washes the glassware who gets her first look at science in person and may get hooked.

    It generates knowledge, provides employment, and keeps all those people who make supplies from plastic tubes to high tech microscopes in business.  

    Long term, we seed smart trained people into the world.  One postdoc may aspire to academe.  Another may decide that pharmaceuticals are the way to go.  I've had folks I've trained start companies, take teaching positions, and go into law.  

    We may find something that may lead to something else that may form a nucleus of a cure, a product, or the next thing since sliced bread.

    NIH's success rate right now is about 10-15% -- that is more than 80% of grants won't be funded.  And anyone on a peer review panel will tell you that there are far, far more grants that are good than money to fund them.

    RIght now, labs are shutting, students are leaving science, and that smart undergrad is saying "There's no future in this for me."  OUr sciene base is eroding.

    So cheers for Specter if he can help us out and put those students back to work!

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