Three state delegates that represent the Bethesda area sent Gov. Larry Hogan a letter Tuesday imploring him to speak out against President Donald Trump’s proposed $5.8 billion cut in spending for the National Institutes of Health.
Signed by Democratic Dels. Bill Frick, Ariana Kelly and Marc Korman, the letter notes Hogan has remained silent on the potential budget cut and that he should petition the federal government to stand up for the medical research center.
NIH is Montgomery County’s largest employer with over 20,000 employees at its Bethesda headquarters. The cut proposed by Trump in his budget outline released last week would be about 19 percent of NIH’s annual budget. The cut was among many proposed by Trump at large federal agencies, some of which could have significant negative impacts on the agencies based in Montgomery County.
“The argument against these reckless cuts makes itself—our economy depends on these jobs, and our state, our country, and the rest of the world depend on this life-saving medical research,” the letter says. “Your job, as governor, is to stand up for Marylanders and their interests. Finding cures to deadly disease and keeping tens of thousands of quality jobs in state is unquestionably in the interest of every Marylander.”
Amelia Chasse, a Hogan spokeswoman, said in an email to Bethesda Beat responding to the delegates’ letter that the governor “strongly supports the work done at NIH.”
“If any of these proposals at the federal level ever become law or even draft legislation we will take a serious look at how to address them during our own budget process,” Chasse wrote—echoing a statement she provided to The New York Times earlier this week.
She noted Hogan met Wednesday with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Washington, D.C. Hogan was scheduled to advocate for the state’s interests under any federal health care plan during the meeting, according to the Associated Press.
Chasse also took a shot at Frick, calling him a “partisan politician who frequently criticizes the governor for partisan political reasons.”
“We take very little of what he says seriously, as few people do,” Chasse wrote.
Frick responded, “I’ll be a frequent critic if he continues ducking his responsibility to advocate for the state”
Chasse did not respond to a question about whether Hogan and Price were discussing NIH cuts during the meeting.