U.S. Senator Dick Durbin wants to boost federal spending on biomedical research by 150 billion dollars.
Durbin’s America Cures Act would create a more stable funding source for researchers by separating it from the federal government’s discretionary spending. Durbin claims the investment will pay for itself by reducing the costs of health care, but admits such a large amount is going to be a tough sell to Republicans.
“Unfortunately, the Tea Party mentality has taken over and scares many Republicans. They’re afraid of spending money on anything, even medical research,” Durbin said. “So I’m trying to convince them that this is actually money saved.”
Durbin says a tax hike on tobacco products would pay for at least half the increase. He claims that cuts in research funding—which as a percentage of total spending have declined by more than two-thirds since the mid-60s—have put the United States behind other countries in terms of medical advancements.