Republicans are clearly starting to revolt against Donald Trump.
Trump’s budget proposes slashing funds for multiple government programs and agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an organization dedicated to public health research that has benefited the American people for over a century.
At a time when the public health is threatened like never before, the scientific research conducted by the 27 separate institutes that make up NIH is needed more than ever.
For example, NIH is responsible for the creation of several vaccines which prevent hepatitis, influenza, and HPV.
Treatments for cancer, heart disease, and even Ebola have developed because of the work of and support from NIH.
If anything, NIH needs a budget increase because it has struggled over the last decade to keep up with inflation because the agency’s budget has remained flat or has been cut mostly due to Republican opposition to science.
But that may have just come to an end last week when Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chair Lamar Alexander cast the decisive vote to increase the NIH budget by $2 billion.
On Thursday, the Tennessee Republican was forced to step away from a separate healthcare hearing to cast a vote held by the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
The vote was critical for the public health. Trump, of course, wanted the NIH budget to be cut. But Alexander gave Trump the middle finger instead by casting his vote in favor of raising the NIH budget to $36.1 billion.
After voting, Alexander returned to the hearing and explained his brief absence.
I apologize. I had to step out and vote. I’m glad I did because for the third consecutive year we recommended to the Senate a $2 billion increase appropriations for the National Institutes of Health. That doesn’t make many headlines. But it’s very important.”
The members of the committee and those in attendance rewarded Alexander with a round of applause that made him feel really good about doing the right thing despite what Trump wanted.
“Well, that was good,” a smiling Alexander remarked. “That doesn’t happen much.”
Here’s the video via YouTube.
While Trump and many other Republicans are trying to gut the agencies that protect the public health, at least we know that Senator Lamar Alexander is not one of them.
Now we just have to wait for Trump to throw a temper tantrum about it.
Featured Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images