President Biden on Wednesday told the nation that it's "within our power" to end cancer, as part of a larger argument for creating an advanced health research agency similar to the Defense Department's DARPA. The president grew emotional when discussing the disease, which claimed the life of his son Beau Biden in 2015.
"The Defense Department has an agency called DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – [...] to develop breakthroughs to enhance our national security," Mr. Biden said during his address to a joint session of Congress. "...It's led to everything from the discovery of the internet to GPS and so much more that's enhanced our security."
"The National Institutes of Health, the NIH, I believe, should create a similar Advanced Research Projects Agency for health," the president added. "And here's what it would do — it would have a singular purpose: To develop breakthroughs – to prevent, detect, and treat diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cancer."
Mr. Biden then veered from his prepared remarks to discuss how a cancer proposal passed during the Obama administration was named for his son, who died of brain cancer at age 46. Mr. Biden frequently mentions Beau in his speeches, noting on the eve of his inauguration that his "one regret" was that Beau could not be there.
"So many of us have deceased sons, daughters and relatives who have died of cancer," the president said. "I can think of no more worthy investment. I know of nothing that is more bipartisan."
"So let's end cancer as we know it," he added, drawing lengthy bipartisan applause from lawmakers. "It's within our power."