Lawmakers criticize cancer agency; fate of $85 million in recent grants uncertain
State lawmakers on Thursday publicly tackled the state’s troubled cancer-fighting agency, criticizing how it handled its grants and its secretive foundation, but also questioning the fate of $85 million in awards announced just this month.
Several members of the Texas House Appropriations Committee, including its chairman, Rep. Jim Pitts, asked whether the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas would still disperse that money.
“Is all this money going to be put into a lock box?” asked Pitts, R-Waxahachie. “And are we going to be given the key?”
Although Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus have called for a moratorium on new grants, the cancer agency’s lawyer said it’s unclear whether that call included 72 grants, amounting to $85 million, that the agency’s oversight committee approved at its Dec. 5 meeting.