Click here for footage of the hearing.
WASHINGTON - During a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing today, Senator Maggie Hassan questioned Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, about the harmful impact that the Republican tax plan would have on biomedical research and the next generation of researchers who would see their higher education costs rise dramatically under the Republican proposal.
Senator Hassan noted that the 21st Century Cures Act “took important steps for the next generation of researchers by helping to make it more affordable for prospective students to pursue their graduate degrees in science and engineering.” The Senator added, “In recent weeks, I have heard from a number of graduate students, Dr. Collins, who are fearful of how the Republican tax legislation – particularly the House version of it - could impact their ability to pay back their student debts, and whether it could even force them to drop out of their programs.”
Nicholas Warren, a PhD candidate at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College who is studying cancer biology and pharmacology wrote an op-ed where he described the impact the tax bill would have on him: “this would triple my taxable income, and increase my yearly taxes by more than $10,000. It could force me to drop out of school, because I would not be able to afford rent and groceries while earning below the poverty line.”
Senator Hassan asked Dr. Collins, “Can you comment, Dr. Collins, on what you think this provision would mean for the future of our young researchers and biomedical research?”
Dr. Collins said, “These are our future, graduate students that are learning to be the next generation of leaders in science across very many disciplines, but certainly I think of life science as needing those individuals to be the ones who are going to make the next breakthroughs. Anything that happens to discourage the best and brightest from taking that track, or to feel that they can’t afford to do so, is something we should approach with great concern.”