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Special Event

Bush Proposes More Money for Medical Research

Aired September 22, 2000 - 1:22 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: George Bush is at Sun City Center in Florida. He is meeting with senior citizens. His pledge today is to lead a medical moon shot, as he called it, a $91 billion plan to encourage both public and private research on treating and curing disease.

Here's George Bush.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president, I will fund and lead a medical moon shot to reach far beyond what seems possible today and discover new cures for age-old afflictions. This is a great goal for our great country.

If elected president, our government will promote medical advances with new resources and new resolve. For more than a century, the federal government has played a role in medical research. Many of the cures and treatments of modern medicine began with the work of the National Institutes of Health. Discovering an effective treatment for Lupas, new ways to prevent strokes, new treatments for burn victims, and the role of cholesterol in heart disease.

The NIH now supports more than 50,000 scientists, working at 2000 institutions across the United States, and conducts pioneering research at its own facilities. Just this year it led the way in a milestone for all of mankind, helping map the entire human genome. Pursued in the right spirit and guided by the high ethical standards that must guide all research, this knowledge promises great good in the battle against disease.

In Congress, the National Institutes of Health enjoy strong bipartisan support. And your own senator who just introduced me, my good friend Connie Mack has been one of the great champions.

Yet while the budget for the NIH has increased in recent years, too many promising projects go unfunded and unexplored. Almost three- fourths of the research proposals sent to the NIH do not receive funding.

Faced with the lack of support and funding, young scientists are thinking about and some are leaving research for other careers.

Here's what I'm proposing: A dramatic increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health from the current $18 billion a year to more than $27 billion a year by the year 2003.

(APPLAUSE)

This is an investment in the health and hope of Americans and of people across the world. And this funding will be a priority of my administration. This new commitment will help spur advances in basic research that applies to all diseases.

Let me describe one area where additional research -- resources might just make a huge difference. At the National Institute of Aging, an arm of the NIH, researchers are pressing the battle against diseases of the aged, diseases that determine the quality of life for seniors, diseases that impose massive costs and increase their dependence on long-term care.

Every success in this battle brings us closer to the goal of making old age a time of health and security and contribution. Diseases like Parkinson's and arthritis grow more common with age. Ten million Americans have osteoporosis, which is responsible for so many serious falls and fractures that raise the risk of disability or death among the elderly.

And Four million Americans, included a beloved former president, live in the fading light called Alzheimer's Disease.

But help and hope are on the way. The last decade has seen many important advances in the fight against Arthritis. Last spring, the "Journal of American Medical Association" reported new insights into the causes of Alzheimer's Disease and studies testing innovative treatments could be completed very soon.

In just the last few years, brand new medications have been developed to ease the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease and give more complete lives to those who suffer from it.

Progress is accelerating. And the goal of my proposal is to accelerate it even further.

(APPLAUSE)

The funding I am proposing today will help make progress on a variety of diseases. It will also help us renew a special national commitment to fight one disease in particular: cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in America, claiming more than half million lives every year. And few families are spared some tragic contact with this disease.

Cancer knows no bounds of age, spreading suffering across generations. Of the more than two million new cases of cancer diagnosed every year, nearly 80 percent are people 55 and over. Cancer is also the leading cause of death in children under the age of 15.

Now, three decades ago, President Richard Nixon declared a war on cancer. And since that time, researchers have developed better and earlier methods of detection and promising treatments for non- Hodgkin's Lymphoma, breast cancer, and Leukemia.

Today, the relative five-year survival rate for people with cancer is 60 percent, far higher than it was 30 years ago.

For hundreds of thousands of people, the world "cancer" no longer spells a death sentence. Cancer sufferers are becoming cancer survivors. This is a great achievement and all Americans share in it.

The National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health, is leading the public effort in the fight against cancer. Their scientists tells us we are beginning to understand the nature of cancer and its genetic causes. The next five or 10 years might actually bring new cures for some forms of cancer.

We must sustain our momentum in this important fight. Under my proposal, by the year 2003, the budget of the National Cancer Institute will more than double for its level in 1998. With this unprecedented commitment, we make take years off the quest for cures. And this may add years to the lives of so many different Americans.

I'm especially pleased to be joined today in supporting these goals by my friend Nancy Brinker (ph), founder of the Susan G. Coleman Foundation (ph) and Race for the Cure, a great American citizen who is helping raise money in the private sector.

We are joined by Dr. Andrew Von Echenbach (ph), a leading oncologist and vice president of the American Cancer Society.

We must also recognize the crucial role of the private sector in the fight against cancer and other diseases, and we do everything we can -- and must do everything we can to encourage it. Literally, thousands of new medicines are now in various stages of research and testing. These efforts are conducted over many years and require billions of dollars.

And tax policy can either help or hurt in research. I proposed making the Research and Development Tax Credit permanent, encouraging the basic science behind the achievements of medicine.

WATERS: George W. Bush, who is locked in a close race in Florida, despite the fact that his younger brother is governor there, appearing today at the Sun City Center, Florida, retirement community, appealing to senior citizens who support his, what he calls, "medical moon shot" plan, which is a plan for treating and curing disease. A goal that he compares to the U.S. push to conquer space.

Comes with a heavy price tag: $91 billion, which in part increases the National Institutes of Health budget from $18 billion to $27 billion a year. And in a state where seniors are an active voting bloc, Mr. Bush also pledged to renew the war on cancer, pointing out that the funding for the National Cancer Institute, a division of NIH, would also double, reaching $5.1 billion by 2003.

It should be pointed out that Al Gore made that same pledge in a major campaign speech back in June. Al Gore is talking about the high cost of energy today. He will be speaking here in Vanport, Pennsylvania about the high price of crude oil. When that happens, we'll bring that to you live.

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