Representative Lauren Underwood

Representing the 14th District of Illinois

DURBIN, FOSTER, UNDERWOOD REINTRODUCE AMERICAN CURES ACT AND AMERICAN INNOVATION ACT

April 15, 2019
Press Release

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL-11) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) today were joined by researchers from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine to announce their bicameral legislation to restore the United States’ commitment to breakthrough scientific and biomedical research. The American Cures Act and the American Innovation Act would create a mandatory fund to provide steady, predictable funding for breakthrough research at America’s top research agencies, allowing the United States to remain a leader in development and discovery for decades to come. 

“The American Cures and Innovation Acts will allow America’s smartest scientists and researchers to spend less time figuring out how to cut their budgets and more time finding new ways to produce clean energy and clean water, as well as develop new cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease,” said Durbin. “In the last two centuries, U.S. government support for scientific research has helped split the atom, put a man on the moon, create the Internet, and map the human genome. Today we face new hurdles, but continuing to support scientific research is the smartest investment we can make for our health, our future, and our economy.”

 “It’s more important than ever that we defend America’s place as a world leader in scientific progress,” Congressman Foster said. “Since World War II, investments in science and technology have helped the U.S. lead the world in new innovations, grow the economy, create millions of jobs, and provide critical advancements to our national security. As we confront new challenges, we need to make sure our scientists have the resources they need to perform their work at the highest levels and help us maintain our role as global leaders in research and innovation.”

“Biomedical and life science research create breakthrough treatments and lifesaving cures, while supporting high-quality jobs and billions in economic output. Federal investment has slipped in recent years, and robust, sustained funding is needed.  The American Cures Act will ensure our country’s investment and innovation in world-class life sciences and biomedical research continues, led by Illinois,” said Congresswoman Underwood.

The American Cures Act—of which Representative Underwood is the lead House sponsor—would provide annual budget increases of five percent plus inflation at America’s top four biomedical research agencies: the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense Health Program, and the Veterans Medical and Prosthetics Research Program.

The American Innovation Act—of which Representative Foster is the lead House sponsor—would provide annual budget increases of five percent for cutting edge research at five important federal research agencies: The National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, the Department of Defense Science and Technology Programs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Scientific and Technical Research, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Science Directorate. This steady, long-term investment would allow the agencies to plan and manage strategic growth while maximizing efficiencies.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request would devastate funding for medical and scientific research by proposing to cut funding at the National Institutes of Health by $5 billion (or 12 percent), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $750 million (or more than 10 percent), the National Science Foundation by nearly a billion dollars (12 percent), and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science by $1.1 billion (or more than 16 percent) from FY19 funding levels. 

Research and development (R&D) funding in the United States has been lagging in recent decades. In 1960’s the United States invested 17 percent of its discretionary budget on research and development—that number is now down to 9 percent. Between 1960 and 1980, federal R&D spending as a share of GDP averaged 1.52 percent per year.  However, federal R&D investments now average just under 0.8 percent year.  This steady decline has led to a cumulative $1.5 trillion research investment deficit. Meanwhile, China’s research intensity (GDP expenditures on R&D) has increased sharply since the early 2000s – if this trend continues, China will soon surpass the U.S.

The American Cures Act is supported by: the American Heart Association, Research!America, the National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Arthritis Foundation, ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, as well as many Illinois health and hospital systems, including Advocate Aurora Health, University of Chicago Medicine, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Loyola University Health System, Sinai Health System, Northwestern Medicine, and AMITA Health.

The American Innovation Act is supported by: Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, American Geophysical Union, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Task Force on American Innovation.

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