On July 10, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill that would provide the National Institutes of Health an additional $9.3 billion in mandatory funding over the next five years.
The proposed bill also intends to establish a Cures Innovation Fund to support breakthroughs in biomedical research. The bill would provide an additional $550 million to the Food and Drug Administration over the next five years.
The passing of the bill in Congress gives a boost to NIH and life science research, which was experiencing a stagnated funding scenario.
In the past three to four years, several research organizations and scientists actively advocated for sustained research funding for NIH on Capitol Hill and in their respective home districts.
When I served as one of the Washington fellows of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics in 2014, I met the staff of U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township. I later met him, along with my postdoc colleague, at his Bellefonte office.
The congressman listened to the issues faced by scientists and expressed his commitment to the cause of science. He assured that he would do everything possible to help the research community.
I thank Thompson for voting in favor of the 21st Century Cures Act. He also voted against the Brat amendment, which was aimed at converting the NIH Innovation Fund from mandatory to discretionary funding.
It is now the Senate’s turn to approve this bill to encourage innovation and support research.