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Dems push to ease budget caps on medical research

Two House Democrats on Friday introduced a bill that would increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

The Accelerating Biomedical Research Act would create a new budget cap adjustment whereby any NIH funding in excess of $29.9 billion would trigger a budget cap increase. 

If the bill were enacted, appropriations for the NIH could be increased by 10 percent in the first two years and by 5 percent in subsequent years. 

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“Work supported by the NIH has saved the lives of countless Americans. Failure to invest in health research and disease prevention results in huge costs to our health, society, economy and knowledge itself. Congress must stop forcing the NIH to do more with less,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroOvernight Regulation: Republicans weigh paid leave proposal | Web giants push to reinstate net neutrality | Conservatives threaten Fed pick | ATF flooded with comments opposing bump stock regulations The country is more than ready for national paid leave, but the details matter Republicans weigh Social Security paid leave plan MORE (D-Conn.), one of the co-sponsors, in a statement.

DeLauro is the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Rep. Bill Higgins (D-N.Y.) is the bill’s other co-sponsor.

Higgins said Congress should view medical research as a national priority instead of cutting its budget.

“This bill will start to return vital funding to the NIH and continue our pursuit to find better treatments and cures for so many debilitating diseases. The only failure in medical research is when you quit or are forced to quit due to lack of funding,” he said.

Both Democrats accused Republicans of refusing to introduce legislation to boost funding to NIH.

Earlier this week, DeLauro and other House Democrats introduced a fiscal 2015 appropriations bill to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Their measure would provide $778 million in additional funding to NIH.