ASHLAND, Va.- Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) used an appearance for Virginia congressional candidates Wednesday to slam the National Institutes of Health's claim that funding cuts had limited their ability to fight the Ebola virus.
"We have people who go blithely on TV and say 'we don't have enough money to study Ebola.' Have you seen what the NIH spends money on?" Paul said at a rally for Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie and House candidate Dave Brat. "Nine hundred and thirty-nine thousand dollars spent to discover whether or not male fruit flies would like to consort with younger female fruit flies, $117,000 spent to determine that most monkeys are right-handed and like to throw poop with their right hand apparently."
He also listed $2.4 million for "origami condoms" as an example of wasteful spending.
"And then they say they don't have enough money. Their budget was $17 billion in the year 2000, it's now $30 billion, so when they say they don't have enough money or their have been cuts, look at the bottom line," he said.
NIH head Dr. Francis Collins said in a recent interview with the Huffington Post that the lack of proper funding had "slowed down" research in many areas, including vaccinations for infectious diseases like Ebola. The agency's budget has increased dramatically since 2000 but dropped slightly in real terms since 2006 when adjusted for inflation.
Paul's stop in Virginia is one of several the potential 2016 contender has made ahead of the 2014 midterms. His remarks also included a not-so-subtle jab at former Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who lost his primary to Brat this summer.
"Here's the thing, you guys have already woken Washington up, you have sent a loud message to Washington," Paul said. "Dave Brat's already had an effect and he's not even there yet."