Gov. Charlie Baker called several elements of President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposal “alarming,” particularly cuts to the National Institutes of Health or NIH. “It’s not just bad for Massachusetts,” Baker said in an interview with Boston Public Radio Thursday. “It’s bad for the country.”
Trump’s proposed $1.15 trillion federal budget would reduce funding for several domestic programs including $5.8 billion from the National Institutes of Health, the $32 billion national medical research agency.
“The National Institutes of Health ... is the sort of key driver to all sorts of discovery and has a lot to do with laying the foundation for a lot of the basic research that translates and has translated over the course of many decades into some of the most important advancements in medicine and science and biology and chemistry,” Baker said. “It is a fundamental element of what makes this country special.”
Baker said he plans to reach out to the Republican congressional delegation and other governors who rely heavily on NIH funding, as Massachusetts does. “There’s a lot of things in this that concern me,” Baker said. “That’s why it’s going to be important for us to reach out and coordinate our activities on the advocacy side with our delegation and with other governors that find themselves in similar situations.”
Employment in Massachusetts’ life and sciences sector exceeded 66,000 people last year. [It’s an economic] driver here and other places,” Baker said. “A lot of basic research that gets done here turns into applied research, which turns into medical devices and new drugs and all the rest.”
Baker also expressed his disapproval of Trump’s second travel ban, which was blocked by federal judges earlier this week. “There are other ways that would be more appropriate if your effort here and your goal is to make the country safer,” Baker said. “The travel ban is not a good thing for Massachusetts.”