Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, argues that it’s up to the NIH leaders, not Congress, to determine that balance. An obstetrician by training, Coburn effectively blocked Eshoo’s efforts by threatening to filibuster her original bill if it came to the Senate floor. Of course, the modified bill—the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act—eventually became law. “But they’d watered it down so much it’s going to be more in line with what the NIH needs,” Coburn says.
Coburn told Nature Medicine that he will continue to oppose any disease-specific legislation because he doesn’t think Congress should micromanage the leaders of the NIH. “If you’re going to do a disease-specific bill, you ought to tell them what mass spectrometer to buy,” he quips.
From Nature Medicine.