Castor, Pallone fret about NIH cuts

When Congress invoked the sequester in 2012, one of the big losers was funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). There were 722 fewer grants offered in FY 2013 than in FY 2012, including cuts to USF and Moffitt Cancer Center. NIH Director Francis Collins said potentially groundbreaking medical projects could be dismantled or may never get off the ground if full funding wasn't restored.

Significant funding was restored in the Patty Murray-Paul Ryan budget deal arrived at earlier this year, though an amendment proposed by Congresswoman Kathy Castor that would have restored full funding for the NIH was rejected.

"We're going to live to fight another day, but look out — in the year ahead, sequester is set to come back unless we find some rational new way to invest in America and pay for the things that are important," Castor said this afternoon.

The Tampa Democrat was speaking in front of CAMLS, the medical simulation and training facility that opened in 2012 in downtown Tampa. Castor, CAMLS CEO Joan Sutherland and USF school President Judy Genshaft were speaking to reporters after giving a tour to New Jersey Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone, slated to take over as the ranking member of the Energy & Commerce Committee. Pallone said that he learned during his visit of CAMLS that there are lots of doctors who visit from Latin America, but if NIH funding continues to be cut, the U.S. is in danger of losing ground with other countries when to medical breakthroughs.

Pallone said he was "tremendously impressed" after visiting CAMLS, but was vague about whether his visit might result in Congress providing any more funding for the facility. 

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