A conservative group is calling on Congress to temporarily suspend funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) after releasing a study that found the agency wasted half a billion dollars in taxpayer money on "bizarre projects," and gave more than $90 million to China, America’s largest creditor, over the last decade for other research.
The Traditional Values Coalition, which represents 43,000 churches across the country, sent a letter to Appropriations Committees in both houses of Congress this week urging them to freeze funding for six months while investigating the agency’s research practices that are "striking working families across America as wasteful, illicit, and in many cases outright offensive."
As part of its six-month investigation into NIH’s budget, the coalition discovered that the agency awarded more than $90 million to the Chinese government over the last decade, including $30 million in the last two and half years alone to scientists working at Chinese universities and institutions to research medical issues that affect Chinese citizens.
The coalition has also found that NIH has paid more than half a billion in funding grants to researchers to “conduct bizarre projects such as trying to find out if a mother rat will abandon her babies if given cocaine, and asking individuals to mail in their toenail clippings.”
"As our country heads to fiscal ruin, why are we giving millions in taxpayer dollars to Chinese science – which benefits China and its institutions – when they hold more than $1 trillion in American debt?" asked Andrea Lafferty, president of the TVC.
"It is simply unacceptable for the NIH to pay Chinese researchers to study acupuncture, or fund international research, when we are struggling to pay our own debts," she said. "That China, our biggest creditor, is the recipient makes this waste all the more credible."
China has also received a $718,000 EPA grant over the last decade for “air pollution” efforts.
The NIH-funded projects include $2 million for Chinese and American scientists to develop a vaccine against parasites that affect water buffalo, snails and about 1 million Chinese citizens.
In a statement to FoxNews.com, NIH defended its practices and research in China, saying "Americans benefit enormously from research that has taken place around the world."
For example, NIH spokesman John Burklow said, China, with the world’s largest population, "represents an important opportunity to examine a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention."
"International research on HIV/AIDS is essential, because this disease is a global epidemic that does not stop at national boundaries," he said.
He also said the study to develop a vaccine against parasites "will benefit many people around the world, including the many people in the U.S. who suffer from parasitic diseases."