Q&A With Sen. Elizabeth Warren

May 29, 2013

Congratulations on your appointments to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and the Senate Special Committee on Aging. As you delve deeper into your Committee work, would you share with us a few of yourpriorities for the coming months?

My top priority is working to build a future—a future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. I think that’s about making the right investments, about investing in education, infrastructure and research. I also believe we build a stronger field when we have a level playing field, when small businesses can compete against big businesses, and everyone who works hard and plays by the rules has a fair shot at success. I’m looking for every opportunity I can find to advance those goals.

The budget sequester and dramatic cuts to domestic spending present serious threats to our nation's ability to support cutting-edge research, bring new innovative therapies to market, and ensure patients have access to the treatments they need. How do we get Washington to understand that such cuts can have serious and long-term consequences for our nation's health and economic vitality?

Research is our future. Research is the foundation for innovation and for economic growth. The breakthroughs of today – in science, technology, and engineering – lead to the success stories of tomorrow: discoveries that cure disease; innovations that reduce the cost of power; prosthetic limbs for wounded warriors. I’m deeply proud to go to Washington to represent Massachusetts because we are leading the world in the research that produces new products and new industries - and creates the demand for new jobs at every stage. We are showing how investments in basic research and infrastructure create jobs and grow our economy. We can reduce our deficit and balance our budget in a balanced, sensible way by closing corporate tax loopholes, cutting agricultural subsidies, and finding strategic savings in our defense budget. Instead, we threaten our own future with mindless, across-the-board budget cuts. I will continue to fight for our priorities, to fight for the investments that will help us build a future here in the Commonwealth and across the country.

We often hear about the contentious political climate in Washington these days, and many observers lament the difficulty our political leaders have in making progress on important national issues. In your first several months as our Senator, what have you seen that presents cause for hope – for the life sciences and biotech communities and, more generally, for the American people?

I went to Washington to try to get something done for the people of Massachusetts. While there is a

minority of the minority in the Senate focused on playing hostage politics and blocking legislation,

I believe there are opportunities to make real progress on important issues. During my first few months as Senator, I have cosponsored bipartisan legislation to jumpstart reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, met with Republican Senators who are interested in working together to end Too Big to Fail, and passed an amendment with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to support critical disaster assistance for fisherman. It’s not as much  bipartisanship as I want, but it’s a good start. Support for the life sciences and biotech communities – and particularly for scientific and medical research – is widespread. People all around this country understand that innovations and breakthroughs in these areas will improve the lives of families and promote economic growth. But make no mistake – these problems won’t be fixed in Washington alone. Change is possible in the Senate when change is demanded outside the Senate. People are tired of gridlock in Congress, and they want to see us working to create jobs and rebuild our economy. But it will take people staying engaged in the process to get things done. I am optimistic that on life sciences and biotech issues people can and will stay engaged – and that we can make progress in supporting breakthroughs hat improve people’s lives.

Contact Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 617-565-3170 or visit www.warren.senate.gov

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