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  • Washington Highlights

    Senate NIH Caucus Holds Initial Briefing

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    At a May 19 Capitol Hill briefing, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) officially launched the Senate National Institutes of Health (NIH) Caucus, a new group that seeks “a bipartisan strategy to restore the purchasing power that NIH has lost and provide steady, predictable growth for biomedical research in the future.”

    The senators said the caucus will offer “more than symbolic support” for NIH and will work to increase research funding.

    Senator Durbin, who will co-chair the caucus with Senator Graham, said, “We have to tell the political story…. We have to do what America expects us to do.”

    Senator Graham said, “The purpose of this caucus is to shine a light on what you [the NIH] do, inform the American tax payer that this is a great return on investment….”

    NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and three institute/center directors: Tom Insel, M.D.; National Institute of Mental Health; Nora Volkow, M.D., National Institutes on Drug Abuse; and Chris Austin, M.D., National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, reviewed some of the most promising scientific opportunities.

    In addition to Senators Graham, Durbin, and Moran, caucus members include Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).