Steve Daines took to Twitter today to celebrate the fact that he and his son took the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to promote awareness and a cure for ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. While it’s great to see so many people getting involved in fundraising for this dreadful disease, it’s important to understand that Steve Daines actually voted to slash federal spending into its research.
As most of you know, Representative Daines voted for the Paul Ryan budget, which would have absolutely slashed funding for the National Institutes of Health:
The plan imposes extreme cuts to non-defense discretionary programs, which include line-items such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Head Start, education, and air traffic control. These cuts will take place by imposing a 414-billion-dollar cap on non-defense discretionary spending for FY 2014, which starts on October 1st. To put this into perspective, this cap means that about $167 billion will be cut from these programs in FY 2014, accounting for the sequester cuts that took effect on March 1st. While the sequester cuts have dealt a devastating 5.1% cut to NIH funding for the remainder of this year, the House plan could mean more than a 10% cut to the NIH budget in FY 2014.
And, of course, the National Institutes of Health is responsible for a great deal of research into ALS, as well as cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. The cuts that Steve Daines supported would reduce the number of research grants by 16,000 over the next decade.
In fact, according to the organization Daines claims to support, The NIH is the “largest source of ALS research funding in the world.”
It’s a lot like showing up to take credit for Meals on Wheels food delivery when you voted to gut its funding.
It’s commendable that Steve Daines poured some cold water over his head to gain attention for ALS (and himself), but it would be much better if Representative Daines actually supported the programs that are critical for the health and well-being of the people of Montana.