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Upton speaks on House floor to preserve lifesaving health research funding

Published On: Oct 02 2013 05:00:59 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 02 2013 05:03:17 PM CDT
Fred Upton

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -

As the House and Senate continue to work toward an agreement to end the federal government shutdown that resulted from a lapse in federal funding on October 1, Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, took to the House Floor Wednesday to urge his colleagues to support the immediate continuation of federal funding for lifesaving health research.

Upton spoke in favor of the Research for Lifesaving Cures Act, H.J.Res.73, which provides immediate funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the same rate and under the same conditions as in effect at the end of the just-completed fiscal year.

Under the joint resolution, NIH funds would be available until another appropriations bill – such as a Continuing Resolution – is enacted or December 15, 2013, whichever comes first.

Health research has remained a top priority for Upton as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he has worked to advance health research for millions of young patients who suffer from rare and genetic disorders, among many other efforts.

CLICK HERE to watch Rep. Upton House floor speech.

Speech transcript:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Let’s face it, the failure of not having a CR is that both sides have failed to negotiate an agreement to keep the government open. And let’s hope that the 5:30 meeting this afternoon between Speaker Boehner, Leaders Pelosi, McConnell, and Reid, and the President is not a finger-pointing meeting; it’s not a my-way-or-the-highway meeting, but, in fact, a constructive way to get an agreement that most of us – Republicans and Democrats – can support.

But whether that agreement comes tonight or tomorrow, God help us next week or the following week, at some point the sun is going to come up. It’s going to happen. But in the meantime, we shouldn’t harm the folks that are in dire need.

I strongly support the NIH and I look at Mr. Waxman, my colleague and Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the two of us led the effort to double the money for the NIH a number of years ago. We have folks waiting in the queue to participate in life-saving clinical trials. They have every right to be furious with this body, but we can fix that by passing this bill so they don’t have to wait. Come on – let’s put policy over politics and do this. Not for us, but for them. And I yield back the balance of my time.