Newt Gingrich: Double the N.I.H. Budget: NYT

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times the conservative former Speaker of the House calls for doubling the investment in NIH funding. (

In part he says:

Unfortunately, since the end of the five-year effort that roughly doubled the N.I.H. budget by 2003, funding for the institutes has been flat. The N.I.H. budget (about $30 billion last year) has effectively been reduced by more than 20 percent since then. As 92 percent of the N.I.H. budget goes directly to research, one result is that the institutes awarded 12.5 percent fewer grants last year than in 2003. Grant applications, over the same period, increased by almost 50 percent.

Even as weve let financing for basic scientific and medical research stagnate, government spending on health care has grown significantly. That should trouble every fiscal conservative. As a conservative myself, Im often skeptical of government investments. But when it comes to breakthroughs that could cure not just treat the most expensive diseases, government is unique. It alone can bring the necessary resources to bear. (The federal government funds roughly a third of all medical research in the United States.) And it is ultimately on the hook for the costs of illness. Its irresponsible and shortsighted, not prudent, to let financing for basic research dwindle.