Republican lawmakers are backing away from President Donald Trump's proposal to slash the National Institutes of Health's funding by $5.8 billion, the Washington Examiner is reporting.
Trump's budget proposal to cut nearly 20 percent from the NIH is a major concern for the GOP, according to the website.
"I remain deeply concerned about proposed cuts to important domestic programs like the National Institutes of Health," Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., told the Examiner. "It's penny-wise but pound-foolish."
In the past, the medical research agency has received support from Republicans, as well as Democrats, the Examiner noted.
"You don't pretend to balance the budget by cutting life-saving biomedical research when the real cause of the federal debt is runaway entitlement spending," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
"For the last two years, Congress has significantly increased funding for biomedical research, and we should increase it again this next year."
And New York University President Andrew Hamilton agreed. In a column for The Washington Post, Hamilton wrote:
"Even if one disregards the gift we would be handing to other nations competing to take America's place at forefront of science, the fact is that we now have tools and techniques — many funded through the NIH — that may finally enable some of the most intractable and feared ailments – lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease — to succumb to research," he wrote:
"The therapeutics for these diseases are still very much in the future. With these cuts, that future is set back. Make no mistake: it will cost us in lives and suffering."
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