Senator Roy Blunt spoke about the importance of research and his views on sequestration during a visit to the MU campus on Tuesday.
Blunt spoke inside the International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine. But just outside the building, people held chanted and held banners in protest of sequestration and the cuts to federal programs it would cause. Blunt sees sequestration as the best solution in the current financial situation. Robin Acree is the Director of Grass Roots Organizing in Columbia.
“We’ll be facing these cuts and it’s going to hurt students," Acree said. "It’s going to hurt Head Start, it’s going to hurt education, it’s going to hurt air traffic controllers. I mean, the list goes on and on.”
Inside the Institute, Blunt honored the achievements of the Institute Director Frederick Hawthorne, who received the National Medal of Science earlier this month. Blunt took a tour around labs and research facilities and talked to the staff about their research projects. But the heated issue of sequestration — which Obama called a 'meat cleaver' — also made its way into the discussion. Blunt said he is optimistic about the government passing a budget for the first time in four years.
“The only way to change sequestration, in my view, is for the president to propose other spending cuts or to accept other spending cuts," Blunt said. "I think this questioned amount of money will be withheld, and it starts on March 1.”
According to organization United for Medical Research, sequestration will affect the National Institutes of Health and as a result, funding for research in Missouri. The estimate is sequestration will cost the state almost 24 million dollars and 370 jobs in medical research field.