Official White House Photo by David Lienemann(NEW YORK) — Vice president Joe Biden vowed to “mow down” any bureaucratic impediments to the work of the Cancer Moonshot, saying it was “truly a bipartisan issue.”
Biden heads the “moonshot,” which is the $1 billion initiative that aims to improve cancer treatments and find a cure for the disease.
“We’re going to get this done,” he said, speaking in an exclusive interview with Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts that aired Wednesday. “We are going to fundamentally change the face of cancer. It’s going to become a chronic disease. We’re going to cure a hell of the lot of it that’s not chronic.”
President Obama announced the effort during his State of the Union address in January, and he placed Biden in charge of it.
“One of the things the president did when he asked me to head this up, he gave me authority over all the federal agencies that have anything to do at all with cancer,” Biden said. “And what I promised I would do, I’ve gone around the country. I’ve met now with over 200 and — almost 300 oncologists.”
In those meetings, Biden, 73, said he has asked the oncologists how the initiative could help them and how the federal government was not accommodating their needs.
“So I’ve committed, and I promise before we leave we will mow down any of the impediments that exist bureaucratically in the federal government that slow up the process,” he added.
Funding is key to the success of the initiative, Biden said.
“And we will get a billion dollars,” he said, adding: “This is a truly bipartisan issue. So the leaders in this effort in the House and Senate are Republicans as well as Democrats.”
For Biden, the initiative is personal. His eldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer last year at the age of 46.
Calling Beau “the finest man I’ve ever known,” Biden said his son died “with great courage.”
“And you know, his concern was, ‘Dad, promise me, promise me you’ll be OK. Promise you’ll be OK,’” he said, noting that Beau was always focused on taking care of others.
“That’s why he volunteered to go to Iraq,” Biden said, adding that his son won the Bronze Star for his service. “When he came back, for example, he wouldn’t put on any of his medals. His commanding general made him put them on … so I guess my point is that, I think the measure of a woman or a man is in part that they die with as much courage and valor as they lived.”
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