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Environmental Factor

Environmental Factor

Your Online Source for NIEHS News

January 2016

Rep. Price discusses budget and takes questions at NIEHS

U.S. Rep. David Price visited NIEHS Dec. 14 for a town-hall style meeting that included an extended question and answer session.

U.S. Rep. David Price, whose congressional district includes the NIEHS campus, visited the institute Dec. 14 for a town-hall style meeting with an extended question and answer session. Interested staff packed the room to capacity, and more tuned in via webcast.

NIEHS and National Toxicology Program (NTP) Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., welcomed Price to the institute. “We are very honored to have Rep. Price here again,” she said. “He’s been here for many celebrations and events, including [earlier] town hall meetings.”

Speaking two days before expiration of the continuing resolution that had kept the government operating since Dec. 11, Price tackled the issue of budget first. Referring to the months that had passed without a final budget deal, he said, “I resist the notion that this is the new normal.” His optimism shone through many of the perspectives he shared at the meeting.

Vaccines, climate, and bipartisanship

Price began the question and answer time by opening the field to all topics. “Anything you want to talk about, I’m game,” he said. NIEHS staff asked questions on health-related topics such as vaccines, gun violence, and climate change, as well as issues ranging well beyond research and science, including education, voting rights, and the fate of bipartisanship.

Price addressed the topic of congressional cooperation with eloquence, referring to his work on the House Democracy Partnership, a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress who provide parliamentary support in young democracies around the world.

“We’re working in places like Indonesia and Kenya. It’s very important whether they make it as parliamentary democracies, and there’s not a hint of partisanship in that,” he said. “The chairman and I differ a great deal on foreign policy issues, but that doesn’t enter into the way we run this parliamentary support project.”

Price then shared an observation that could be taken as advice for members of Congress and, indeed, for society at large. “I have choices about how I conduct myself from day to day, and the extent to which I reach out and attempt to be part of the solution instead of exacerbating the problem,” he said.

Birnbaum in the audience

Birnbaum, left, seated with other members of NIEHS leadership, including Darryl Zeldin, M.D., Janet Hall, M.D., Gwen Collman, Ph.D., and Chris Long, clearly enjoyed Price’s wit. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Thad Schug, Ph.D, and Ron Herber, D.V.m, Ph.D. sitting in the audience

Staff from across the institute came to hear Price, including, from left, NTP pathologist Ron Herbert, D.V.M., Ph.D., and, from DERT, Thad Schug, Ph.D., and Bonnie Joubert, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

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