Cantor at Forum: Fund Medical Research

Majority leader says guidepost should be whether it can ‘help patients’

March 13, 2013
by Judy Rakowsky, Harvard correspondent

U.S. Rep. Eric I. Cantor, the House majority leader, embraced immigration reform, education changes, and medical research funding during a speech at the Harvard Kennedy School Monday night (March 11).

On the same day that U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, unveiled a financial blueprint that called for repealing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Cantor took a softer stance on the issue of medical research.

“Fiscal stress at the federal level demands we make smart choices,” he said during remarks at the Institute of Politics (IOP). Cantor said his priority was to make sure that “going forward, every federal research dollar should be measured against the capacity to help patients.”

The Virginia Republican said more students should be encouraged to become research scientists who will find cures for diseases, and that he supports funding research that leads to innovations but is less likely to be privately funded.

Cantor, a rising political star who co-authored the book “Young Guns: A New Generation of Political Leaders,” called for making college more affordable. To that end, he said, colleges and universities should be more transparent about costs and outcomes, telling parents and students from the start which majors are statistically likelier to lead to jobs and how much those jobs would pay — even if that meant some students thought twice about incurring debt to finance their education.

A supporter of charter schools and scholarships, Cantor said he favors educational accountability on the state level, such as Louisiana’s system of taking over failing schools. In New Orleans, he said, a single mother will have to work three part-time jobs to keep a child in a good school system if the Louisiana Supreme Court tosses out the state scholarship program.

“One of my priorities this Congress is to move heaven and earth to fix our education system,” Cantor said. Asked how, he said, “We have to do it one student at a time.”

Read more on the Harvard Gazette website.

Photograph of Eric Cantor

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the JFK Jr. Forum
Photo Credit: Jon Chase

“Fiscal stress at the federal level demands we make smart choices,” Cantor said during remarks at the Institute of Politics (IOP). Cantor said his priority was to make sure that “going forward, every federal research dollar should be measured against the capacity to help patients.”


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