Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME), along with 24 of their colleagues, sent a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership calling for $15.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to be included in the fourth COVID-19 relief package to avoid significant harm to the research pipeline in the United States.
“Amid the pandemic, a majority of our researchers have been unable to continue their work while away from their labs and the impact will be felt for years to come. These disruptions will add a significant delay in our understanding of dangerous diseases as well as cutting-edge treatments to improve quality of life for those suffering from them,” the Senators wrote. “This critical funding must be included in the next COVID-19 package so that NIH can continue its groundbreaking research to treat and eventually cure this virus and other deadly diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes.”
In the letter, the Senators urged Senate leadership to provide additional funding for the National Institutes of Health, including $10 billion to help make up for unforeseen disruptions and costs to important, ongoing medical research nationwide, and $5.5 billion for NIH-supported coronavirus-related research into cures, treatments, and vaccines.
In addition to Senators Collins and King, the letter was signed by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Bill Cassidy M.D (R-LA).
As the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, and the founder and co-chair of the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force and the Diabetes Caucus, Senator Collins is a champion for greater investments in biomedical research. She successfully advocated for a $2.6 billion increase for the NIH, a $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, and an $81.8 million increase for diabetes research in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations package. This funding met the funding level the NIH estimates it will need to find a means of effectively treating or preventing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias within six years.
Click HERE to read the letter.