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Higgins Blasts Move that Puts Big Oil Execs Before Cancer Patients | Health

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Higgins Blasts Move that Puts Big Oil Execs Before Cancer Patients
Health, News, Politics


Outraged by the misguided priorities laid out in the FY 2011 Continuing Budget Resolution (H.R.  1), Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) is cosponsoring an amendment to restore $1.6 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).   The amendment, introduced by Rep. Ed Markey (MA-7) and cosponsored by Higgins, pays for the NIH programs by ending $40 billion in subsidies to gas and oil companies.  House Republican leadership refused to let the amendment be considered on the House floor.

“This is nonsensical budgeting,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the House Cancer Caucus.   “This bill takes from researchers on the verge of promising discovery and cancer patients so deserving recovery and instead gives valuable taxpayer dollars to big oil already recording hundreds of billions in annual revenue.  It offensive to the hardworking people of Western New York and the entire nation and this amendment attempts to set our priorities straight.”

Higgins said the NIH cuts would have a significant impact on local institutions including Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University at Buffalo (UB).  Over the last 5 years alone, UB has received $281 million in federal funds through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Officials at UB called the legislation “troubling” indicating that federal research funding is necessary for the success of UB2020.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network released a statement indicating the bill “could set back the longstanding national effort to conquer cancer,” and expressed specific concern for the 21 percent cut for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which includes proven cancer screening programs like the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. 

The National Institutes of Health, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency—making important medical discoveries that improve health and save lives.  More than 80% of the NIH's budget goes to more than 300,000 research personnel at over 3,000 universities and research institutions. In addition, about 6,000 scientists work in NIH’s own laboratories.  NIH is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world, creating hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs.


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