Policy & Politics
Traditional Values Coalition, HHS Secretary Respond to Waxman Letter on NIH Funding for AIDS Research
October 30, 2003
The Traditional Values Coalition and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on Wednesday responded to letters from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who this week had accused TVC of "scientific McCarthyism" for its criticism of more than 200 NIH research grants, including studies on HIV/AIDS and sexuality, the Washington Post reports (Weiss, Washington Post, 10/30). For several months, conservative House members have questioned 10 NIH research grants, including grants for studies on emergency contraception, Asian sex workers in San Francisco and women's response to pornography. At an Oct. 2 hearing on the grants, Rep. Michael Ferguson (R-N.J.) asked NIH for information about the public benefit of the 10 studies, Ferguson said on Monday. NIH Director Elias Zerhouni's staff contacted the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which co-sponsored the hearing, to obtain the list of the 10 studies about which Ferguson wanted further information. Instead of sending the list of 10 studies, a committee staff member sent a different list, including more than 150 scientists. The longer list, which includes more than 200 grants representing $100 million in funding, was prepared by TVC, which says it represents 43,000 churches nationwide (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/28). NIH began calling researchers whose grants were on the list as part of a report for Congress on broad categories of grants, such as "AIDS prevention," according to NIH spokesperson John Burklow. Although it came as a "surprise" when NIH learned that the grant list had been developed by TVC, the agency has continued its review and plans to submit a report to the Energy and Commerce Committee in about one week, according to Burklow, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. NIH has continued to work off of the TVC list because it is the list that the committee sent them, Burklow said, adding, "When Congress asks, we respond" (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/30).
Response to Waxman Letters
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