Updated – 8 a.m., Friday – Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel on Monday shined a spotlight on healthcare in the United States with a moving dialogue about his newborn son’s heart condition.
And during the nearly 15-minute speech on his show in which he thanked the doctors and nurses who treated his son at a Los Angeles hospital, Kimmel also called attention to President Donald Trump’s proposed funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health and a congressional budget deal that increased spending instead.
“President Trump last month proposed a $6 billion cut in funding to the National Institutes of Health. And thank God our congressmen made a deal last night to not go along with that,” Kimmel said. “They actually increased funding by $2 billion, and I applaud them for doing that. Because more than 40 percent of the people who would’ve been affected by those cuts to the National Institutes of Health are children and it would have a major impact on a lot of great places like Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, which is so unbelievably sad to me.”
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that includes the $2 billion increase for Bethesda-based NIH. The Senate is expected to pass the spending bill Thursday. The measure will fund the federal government through the end of September.
The passage of the bill earned praise from Rep. Jamie Raskin, who represents the 8th Congressional District that includes Bethesda and Silver Spring and is home to NIH.
“The omnibus deal secures funding for key Maryland priorities,” Raskin said in a statement. “Despite President Trump’s alarming proposal to cut the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion, we actually secured a $2 billion increase for the NIH, which conducts groundbreaking medical research for people all over the country.”
Raskin also praised the $125 million budgeted in the spending bill for the Purple Line light-rail project, which is facing construction delays because of an ongoing lawsuit. The line would run from Bethesda to New Carrollton.
The move by Congress on Wednesday also appeared to vindicate Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s low-key approach to publicly opposing Trump’s proposed cuts. The governor’s office maintained that it would address the cuts if Congress moves forward with them, despite multiple offensives by Democratic state legislators who had accused the governor of standing idly by as Trump pushed for cuts that could harm the Maryland economy, which depends heavily on federal spending.
“The governor is a strong supporter of the important work done by NIH and was pleased to see it get funded, along with other important initiatives like the Chesapeake Bay Program,” Amelia Chasse, Hogan’s spokeswoman, said Thursday.