By Elise Viebeck - 06/07/12 04:54 PM EDT
"These deep reductions could stop vital, life-saving research in its tracks," Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
"U.S. leadership in biomedical research will no longer be assured, as nations like China and India double down on their investments in research and development while our country scales back."
Markey, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, asked Sebelius to give Congress details on how the 7.8-percent cut would apply to federal health agencies.
"The cuts will be draconian and devastating for millions of Americans, including our nation's most vulnerable populations: seniors, children, and Americans with disabilities," he wrote.
He also referred to the Research!America report, which came out in May — just after the House voted to replace the sequester by taking money from social programs like food stamps and Medicaid.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would lose an amount "equal to half of the entire budget of the National Cancer Institute" under the sequester, Markey wrote.
"Every family is one doctor's visit away from needing the promise of NIH research," he said. "Every senior deserves to have access to medical care from the doctor of their choice. Every parent wants to know that the food they serve their children … is safe."
A study from the Bipartisan Policy Center out Thursday estimated that the sequester will cost 1 million jobs in the United States.