Watch Ranking Member Capito’s opening statement here.
Watch Ranking Member Capito’s first round of questions here.
Watch Ranking Member Capito’s second round of questions here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, yesterday participated in a hearing on the president’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget request for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

During the hearing, Senator Capito questioned officials from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Mental Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse on a number of topics including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research, childhood cancer research, and funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Senator Capito also inquired about the NIH’s $1 billion in funding for public relations services since 2018, and the extreme failures in communications during the Covid-19 pandemic despite large sums of taxpayer dollars given to public relations firms.



RANKING MEMBER CAPITO: “This year, we need to prioritize areas of agreement such as funding to find cures and treatment for cancer, including childhood cancer, and funding for our academic research institutions... Childhood cancers are different than adults and the specialized research is very important.”


RANKING MEMBER CAPITO: “Another area I greatly support is for the NIH Institutional Development Award, or the IDEA program. There have been few programs as impactful to my state as the IDEA program, and I'm disappointed that these awards are flat-funded in the President's budget. West Virginia University is one of 17 research institutions nationwide to participate in an IDEA and ECHO program that was started in 2016… I'm disappointed in some of the overall funding levels in the NIH proposed budget. First, there are no new resources specifically for Alzheimer's research in NIH… An estimated 6.7 million people 65 or older are currently living with Alzheimer's in our country, and the national cost of caring for those Alzheimer's and other dementia [patients] is estimated to reach $345 billion, not to mention the emotional costs on our families and caregivers. There's a lot of exciting research going on in this area. Alzheimer's and dementia-related research must remain a national priority. Also substance abuse challenges for substance use challenges facing the nation basically are receiving just lip service in this budget, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse is receiving flat funding. In 2021, fatal overdoses claimed nearly 107,000 Americans… I know we're dealing with a tight budget year this year, but investments in biomedical research are so important for the future of our country.”


RANKING MEMBER CAPITO: “First of all, I don't think we got our bang for the buck for NIH spending this much money in public relations because I think that confusion is partially owned by NIH and other health [agencies]… We can't sit here and say this is never going to happen again, or could never happen again. So I guess my question is… Will you keep us here in the Senate at the subcommittee in the loop as to what that investigation uncovers with those vast amounts of dollars there? The other thing I would say is what is NIH doing to do a look back in this area… How you can improve that part of the reaction to Covid?… So are you all doing a full analysis of what your reactions were? Are you going to make that public? When can we expect to see it?”

ACTING NIH DIRECTOR DR. TABAK: “I think [the investigation] will become more formal, but initially we're sort of doing the landscape because and again, not to make excuses because we have to own you know, how it how it came out, okay, and I accept that. But of course we were dealing with something that was ever-evolving. And as you know, as you learn more and more your message can be more and more precise. And so we are looking back to try and figure out how things might have been done better, with an eye towards what happens the next time. Because you're right, there will be a next time.”

To watch Ranking Member Capito’s complete opening statement, click here.

To watch Ranking Member Capito’s first round of questions, click here.

To watch Ranking Member Capito’s second round of questions, click here.


In March, Senator Capito and Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced the National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act in the Senate, which aims to unite efforts across the federal government in the mission to cure Parkinson’s disease and ease the financial and health burdens it places on American families. Also in March, Senator Capito, along with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), introduced the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act, which would increase care thresholds for people living with Alzheimer’s and their families across the country. In January, Senator Capito and Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) successfully led the effort to re-authorize their impactful STAR Act, a law that has appropriated over a hundred million dollars towards funding pediatric cancer research. 

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