Biden claims ‘total bipartisan support’ for cancer funding

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Vice President Biden on Thursday hinted that key GOP leaders are willing to support his billion-dollar request for cancer research funding this year

Biden declared Thursday “there’s total bipartisan support” on Capitol Hill for his ambitious moonshot campaign to accelerate cures for cancer.

“Some of the best leadership coming from the Hill now, in terms of funding of this first year of a new moonshot, is being led by Republicans,” Biden told a roundtable at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Those Republicans, Biden said, “are talking about meeting my request for a billion dollars.”

{mosads}“You couldn’t get a commitment to spend a nickel on a lot of things,” he joked.

President Obama announced the cancer moonshot, with Biden at the helm, during his State of the Union address in January. He said then he aimed to increase funding by $1 billion with hopes of spurring a decade’s worth of advances in cancer research in five years.

Some of the GOP lawmakers most involved in cancer funding are those who are already working on their own biomedical initiatives: House and Energy Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who oversees health spending for the House Appropriations Committee, has also said he hopes to significantly increase funding for health agencies such as the National Institutes of Health this year.

The initiative has been broadly backed by lawmakers, though health experts have said an amount as small as $1 billion will do little for the already massive attempt to find cures for dozens of types of cancers.

During his remarks on Thursday, Biden appeared to acknowledge the limited scope of the administration’s project.

He said in an offhand comment that the cancer “moonshot bid” for a cure was “probably inappropriately named.” 

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