U.S. President Trump’s Proposed Cuts To NIH ‘Would Erode America’s Leadership In Medical Research’

New York Times: Why Trump’s NIH Cuts Should Worry Us
Harold Varmus, professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, former director of NIH and the National Cancer Institute

“…[I]t would be a mistake to be complacent about the president’s proposal [to cut the NIH budget by about $5.8 billion], because it is likely to have real consequences. Yes, some have said that the proposed cut to the NIH will be dead on arrival in Congress. But the president’s budget proposal is still important: The administration’s representatives will need to defend it at hearings, and it could be the starting point for negotiations among appropriators. It is not difficult to imagine a compromise in which the NIH suffers a steep reduction. … A substantial NIH budget cut would undermine the fiscal stability of universities and medical schools, many of which depend on NIH funding; it would erode America’s leadership in medical research; and it would diminish opportunities to discover new ways to prevent and treat diseases. … As I have learned from my own time at the NIH, this is not about Republicans versus Democrats. It is about a more fundamental divide, between those who believe in evidence as a basis for life-altering and nation-defining decisions and those who adhere unflinchingly to dogma. It is about a conception of national leadership that connects our economic success and our security to the generation of knowledge, and to the arts and sciences, not just to our military strength. A budget proposal is a concrete manifestation of plans for the nation, a declaration of purpose. In confronting the president’s assault on the NIH, all members of Congress face a moment that will define their character and the future of the country” (3/22).

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