The Harkin-Hatfield Fund for Medical Research amendment, introduced last spring by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.) and attached to several healthcare reform bills debated in Congress, would set aside monies for medical research above the National Institutes of Health appropriation. The funds would be obtained through a 1 percent assessment on all monthly health insurance premiums and a voluntary income tax check-off.

The biomedical-research community--joined by many members of Congress--was overwhelmingly in favor of the amendment. "The support for that bill this year was unlike anything I've seen," says Terry Lierman, president of Washington, D.C.based Capitol Associates Inc., a government-relations firm. But with health-care reform bills taken off the table, at least for the remainder of the year, there is no guarantee that the proposal will pass.

Harkin and Hatfield both are considered friends of biomedical research. As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!