Gingrich: Save NIH funding

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) denounced on Thursday a Republican proposal to cut National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding in their long-term 2011 budget.

The House GOP budget approved in February would slash $1 billion from the $31 billion NIH budget. The White House is seeking an additional $1 billion in 2012.

“I would plead with Republicans in the House not to cut the NIH and – if anything – to increase it,” Gingrich, a likely presidential candidate, told the GOP Congressional Health Care Caucus.

While supporting more funding for the medical research agency, Gingrich said Congress should hold hearings on the NIH’s effectiveness.

“I’m not defending the current NIH model, which I think is obsolescent and minimizes progress by having too many small grants,” he said.