Where’s the separation of church and state when you need it? According to Nancy Pelosi, there may be no such concept, since government offices have “biblical power to cure” illnesses. Pelosi made this remark while responding to the budget cuts proposed by Republicans in Congress that include the NIH, as CNS News reports today:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the House Republicans’ proposed cut to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget would hurt biomedical research’s “biblical power to cure.”
Pelosi, speaking at a press conference on Capitol Hill celebrating the first anniversary of the health care bill’s passage, said, “There’s a cut in funding for the National Institutes of Health. This is not a healthy thing for our country because that research has answers. You know that every family in America is one telephone call, one diagnosis, one accident away from needing the kind of biomedical research that can cure–really have the biblical power to cure in a very, very special way and so to cut back on that research is wrong.”
Technically, of course, the NIH doesn’t actually cure anyone directly, as they don’t treat patients. The NIH acts as a clearinghouse for medical research, and a funding agency for some of that research as well as researchers themselves. That’s not to say that their work isn’t important or needless, but they’re not laying on hands at the NIH, either.
The question of funding isn’t a yes/no issue, either. The GOP isn’t closing down the NIH, but cutting back on its funding in FY2011 by $1 billion. That would actually return the NIH to the same level of funding they received last year, $31 billion, as the NIH asked for an increase of $997 million. In other words, the “cut” is almost entirely — 99.7% — a decision not to increase funding. Furthermore, NIH got along fine in FY2009 with $30 billion, and managed to do its “biblical” work with $28 billion in FY2006, FY2007, and FY2008.
Unless the NIH got its “biblical power” from its latest budget request, the only thing biblical in this equation is Pelosi’s chutzpah. Maybe Pelosi should reread the Bible, and inform us of the passages where healings occurred through the laying of greenbacks on bureaucrats.