Monday, February 6, 2012

Keeping Politics Out of Cancer Research

    I think all would agree that the Komen-Planned Parenthood spectacle this past week was a political battle the likes of which have not been seen since September 2011 when the Senate Appropriations committee voted to cut the National Institutes of Health budget by $190 million.  Much of the work of the NIH is funding cancer research.  The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network put out a statement immediately:
The bill that passed out of committee today could slow progress in the fight to defeat cancer by cutting federal funding for cancer research for the second straight year. The bill would cut the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget by $190 million, reducing research grants and delaying the discovery of potential breakthroughs in new treatments for cancer....   Cancer still kills 1,500 Americans every day. Patients waiting for new treatments and therapies can’t afford to wait for a better budget environment, while potential discoveries are left to languish in the labs.
Reactions from other quarters were swift and unequivocal.  For instance, Planned Parenthood put out the following statement:
Similarly, Harry Reid had this to say:
In a joint statement, Patty Murray and Barbara Boxer declared:
 Nancy Pelosi was perhaps most eloquent:

There’s a cut in funding for the National Institutes of Health. This is not a healthy thing for our country because that research has answers. You know that every family in America is one telephone call, one diagnosis, one accident away from needing the kind of biomedical research that can cure--really have the biblical power to cure in a very, very special way and so to cut back on that research is wrong.
Oh, wait...

My bad.

    Pelosi's statement was from March 2011 when the House GOP passed a continuing resolution calling for $1 billion in NIH cuts.  In September, it was all 16 Democrats voting down all 14 Republicans on the Senate Appropriations committee to cut the NIH budget.   Never mind.  Nothing to see here.

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