Medical research has shored up the economy, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and $62 billion in economic activity in fiscal 2011. Locally, Maryland received almost $1.7 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health with most of the grants supporting innovative research conducted at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland College Park and thousands of jobs across the state. The ripple effect of government-supported research has expanded private sector innovation and allowed young scientists to unleash their creativity and imagination in research facilities nationwide. We canít afford to lose the next generation of Nobel laureates to countries aggressively ramping up their investments in research and development.
Over the next couple of months, we urge leaders from both parties in the new Congress to roll up their sleeves and develop a plan for curbing unsustainable growth in entitlement spending, as well as tackling a tax overhaul. Those same leaders must allocate funding wisely, based on the potential impact to our nationís health and prosperity. They must recognize that there is a responsible way to cut government spending that involves weeding out programs that donít work or that are simply too costly for what can be achieved. The job of elected officials is to choose national priorities, and we believe those that advance scientific discovery and improve public health are among the highest. Our job is to hold them to that responsibility.
Former Rep. John Edward Porter, R-Ill., is the chairman of Research!America. Former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., is a Research!America board member.