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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bush Should Include Federal Research As Priority

President Bush should not neglect U.S. federal spending on research and development in either his televised State of the Union speech tonight nor his upcoming proposed federal budget for the 2008 fiscal year, according to a group that promotes research.

"The president in his State of the Union speech and 2008 budget proposal has a chance to show real leadership by calling for renewed emphasis on science and research as the future of our economy," says former U.S. Rep. John Edward Porter (R-Ill.), chair of Research!America.

"America's economic destiny is, without question, tied to our investment in scientific research. Research offers the promise of better health and of better-paying jobs for a better future. I hope the president will outline a vision to speed the pace of science and better prepare our children for careers in a knowledge-based economy.

"In an August 2006 Research!America poll, a majority of Americans said more funding for medical and health research now is essential to our future health and economic prosperity," Porter adds. "This is a time of unprecedented opportunity for science when the U.S., with our talent pool and research capabilities, could be leading the world in medical and scientific advances. We must boost spending for all science and research, not just certain areas. At stake is our standing in the world and our children's standard of living."

In particular, President Bush must focus both on federal support for research and development in the physical sciences and health sciences, says Research!America President Mary Woolley.
"We applaud the president's anticipated call for more physical science funding in 2008, such as the research funded by the National Science Foundation," Woolley says. "However, advances in physical and life sciences go hand in hand: how would we have outpatient laser treatment for glaucoma without research that developed safe lasers and research that helped us understand the workings of the eye?

"Research!America would be extremely concerned if the president's 2008 budget for research for health fails even to match inflation, as was thecase last year for the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality -- or worse, falls below prior years' budgets, as occurred last year with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's critical core programs," she adds. The investments of the past are now bearing fruit, for instance, in the decrease in cancer mortality, and theAmerican people expect that success to continue -- not slow down. When federally funded health research stalls, we lose family members prematurely, our economy loses productivity when workers become sick, and America begins to lose its position as a global leader in science."

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