From the office of Congressman Andy Harris:
Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released their “21st Century Cures Discussion Draft,” which includes several provisions advocated for by Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01). The “21st Century Cures Discussion Draft” proposes bold action to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of promising new treatments and cures for patients, as well as maintains our nation’s standing as the biomedical innovation capital of the world. Congressman Harris’ provisions focus on more funding for young scientists during their peak age of discovery, increasing investments in high-risk high-reward projects, and increasing efficiency at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“As a physician who also conducted research, I have seen the tremendous benefits that medical innovations can bring to patients,” said Harris. “I also saw firsthand how the most innovative thinking frequently came from younger scientists, which is why we need to prioritize funding for young researchers.”
The Energy and Commerce Committee requested feedback on the provisions added by Congressman Harris. “My hope is that individuals who are passionate about seeing NIH-funded research foster quicker cures for diseases will embrace the changes and offer constructive feedback to the discussion draft that Chairmen Upton and Pitts have worked hard to put together,” Harris added. “I welcome discussion with any stakeholders who want to better understand the reasoning behind my provisions.”
Congressman Harris, the only member of Congress to have conducted NIH-funded research, sits on the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NIH funding. He is also the only member not part of the Energy and Commerce Committee to have multiple provisions included in the discussion draft. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has advocated for funding more young scientists during their peak age of discovery and improving the efficiency of NIH-funding.
The following provisions were supported by Congressman Harris and are included in the discussion draft:
TITLE II—BUILDING THE FOUNDATION FOR 21ST CENTURY MEDICINE, INCLUDING HELPING YOUNG SCIENTISTS Pages 216-222
SUBTITLE O—HELPING YOUNG EMERGING SCIENTISTS
These sections (2261-2262), authored by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), would establish a program at NIH to help young emerging scientists.
SUBTITLE P—FOSTERING HIGH-RISK, HIGH-REWARD SCIENCE
This provision (Section 2281), led by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), would require NIH to support projects that pursue innovative approaches to major challenges in biomedical research that are high-risk, but have the potential to lead to breakthroughs.
TITLE IV—ACCELERATING THE DISCOVERY, DEVELOPMENT, AND DELIVERY CYCLE AND CONTINUING 21ST CENTURY INNOVATION AT NIH, FDA, CDC, AND CMS – Pages 240-252
Section 4001 – NIH research strategic investment plan
Section 4001, based on the work of Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), would require NIH to issue a strategic plan.
Section 4002 – Biomedical research working group to reduce administrative burden on researchers
Section 4002, led by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), would establish a working group composed of NIH and stakeholders to provide recommendations on how to streamline the grant process for researchers.
Section 4004 – Increasing accountability at the National Institutes of Health
Section 4004, based on the work of Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX) and Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), would
provide the NIH Director with more authority over the institutes and centers at NIH.