On the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s famous vow to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s — President Biden re-announced his cancer “moonshot” goal to cut in half deaths from the related diseases by 2047.
Kennedy’s 1962 plan to put a man on the moon was accomplished within seven years.
“The goal is to cut cancer death rates by at least 50% — at least 50% in the next 25 years, to turn more cancers from death sentences into chronic diseases people can live with,” Biden said in a speech in Boston.
Biden sought to tie himself to Kennedy’s legacy and was even introduced by JFK’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, the current US ambassador to Australia.
The White House previously outlined a cancer “moonshot” vision in February, but re-upped the initiative to take advantage of publicity around the Kennedy speech’s anniversary.
A reporter aboard Air Force One en route to Massachusetts asked whether Biden would be seeking more funding from Congress to slash cancer deaths.
“President Kennedy’s moonshot — getting the first man to step on the Moon — cost something in the order, in 2020 dollars, like $200 billion-plus. Is the president calling for additional congressional appropriations to actually make this a reality and invest that same priority? Is he looking for billions of dollars for this effort?” the reporter asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
“I don’t have any additional appropriations asked for from the administration for the cancer moonshot,” Jean-Pierre said. ” And when we do, we’ll be sure to share that. I just don’t have anything to announce on any additional funding.”
It’s unclear how Biden, 79, decided to set a 25-year timeframe on his cancer goal — versus the much shorter timeframe set by Kennedy to land on the moon. Biden would be 104 years old if he lived to see the deadline pass.
Achieving longer lifespans is a bipartisan issue — as US life expectancy actually declines. The average American life expectancy decreased by 2.7 years from 2019 to 2021, to 76.1 years, due largely to more drug overdoses and COVID-19 deaths.
Former President Donald Trump’s West Wing adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, 41, said in a recent interview that “my generation is, hopefully with the advances in science, the first generation that’s going to live forever or the last generation that’s going to die.”