Reportedly, House Republicans are proposing a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the rest of FY2011 at 2008 funding levels. To achieve such an end, the Republicans would have to invoke serious cuts through the federal budget.
Not only would such cuts likely damage the U.S. economy, but also they would have major other negative consequences. Research funding would not spared from this cutting binge. Biomedical research could see cuts of up to 4% to the NIH budget, which would have disastrous effects.
One thing that stands out is that the Republicans are proposing a 2% increase in defense spending, while proposing to slash and burn the rest of the federal budget. This would appear to be because Republicans value “national security” over all else.
The reality is that science is a national security issue and research funding should no more be cut than defense spending. One of the key reasons that the U.S. has more control over its own fate than most countries in the world is not just because we spend more than anyone else on defense spending, but also because the U.S. is a scientific powerhouse and has been for more a century.
I would argue that the country that is the scientific leader on the globe will be the overall world leader. Right now that is the U.S., but what about the future?
Biomedical science is just as important as other sciences such as physics for national security. We need the best new approaches, for example, for treating our troops who may be injured in battle and one of the most exciting new methods of treatments involves stem cell-based therapies than can be used to treat orthopedic (traumatic bone injury) or burn injuries. Stem cell-based regenerative therapies show potential promise in other injuries that may occur to our soldiers including traumatic brain injury and injury to muscle.
Stem cell-derived blood and platelets have tremendous implications for treating those injured on the battlefield.
Cutting U.S. spending on biomedical research is self-destructive. It’s like shooting ourselves in the foot and then not having a treatment for the wound.