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Economy

Congressional Hearing Looks At Biotech Jobs

Congressman Darryl Issa, R, Vista
Congreeman Issa's Office
Congressman Darryl Issa, R, Vista

Republican Darryl Issa (R-Vista) convened some of the region's top bio-tech leaders to find out where they think government is getting in the way of business.

The Food and Drug Administration got the most attention from industry leaders. Issa said the agency will get some scrutiny. "However, that doesn't mean a major overhaul is needed," said Issa.

The congressman hopes the hearings lead to reforms that will help put Americans back to work.

"You know in many cases we're getting complaints that tell us that it's simply an agency policy or abuse, or the absence of a rule. These things are very fixable, and we need to fix them so job creators can start creating those jobs," said Issa.

The hearing featured testimony from from UCSD's Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, BIOCOM president Joe Panetta, and Duane Roth of UCSD Connect.

Issa was joined on the congressional panel by Brian Bilbray, Duncan Hunter, and Susan Davis. The complaints Davis heard were not new, but Davis said there are things that can be done to make the biotech and life sciences industry more competitive.

"The government regulation creates a level playing field," said Davis. "So I think what they're saying is, actually they see that some of the regulation is very important, but they would hope that there might be some way of refining it."

Davis also had questions about funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) -- both are major sources of research funding in the United States. The president's proposed $1 billion increase in NIH funding amounts to no increase when inflation is factored in, said Davis.

More than 100 lawmakers, including Davis, are urging the president to find more NIH funding.

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