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Sen. Bob Casey Says Budget 'Sequestrations' Undermine Medical Research

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- With the federal budget process about to begin, US senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) today made a pitch to eliminate the automatic cuts brought about by the congressional budget tactic known as "sequestration."

And he highlighted the harm it's done to medical research at the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Dr. Jean Bennett (center of photo) works on cures for blindness in her lab at Penn, with funding from the National Institutes of Health.  But this year NIH was forced to undergo indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts brought by sequestration.  And unless there's a budget deal in the next two months, another round of sequestration cuts is looming.

"There are threats to funds for training young scientists, for carrying out the research and carrying out clinical trials, and bringing new products to development," Dr. Bennett notes.

Sen. Casey emphasized that this not only hurts patients but also has a negative impact on the overall economy.

"The cuts from sequestration alone will lead to a $73-million loss for Pennsylvania and a job loss of more than 1,200 jobs," he said.

Casey called on his colleagues to pass an actual budget this year to avoid more automatic cuts.

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