Sequestration

Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is calling on Congress to prevent the latest round of sequester cuts that could impede medical research.

A bipartisan conference committee, created in the agreement to end the government shutdown, has until December to decide whether to keep or reduce cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Last year the Pittsburgh region received 1,132 NIH awards totaling more than $503 million. As a whole, Pennsylvania was given 3,369 grants worth more than $1.4 billion.

The commonwealth ranked fourth in federal research funding in 2012.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

On a recent Thursday morning, Antoinetta Lassiter is playing with roller skates she has just gotten for her fifth birthday. She’s in her Beechview home with her mother and grandmother, asking an endless stream of questions.

Her mother Melinda Lassiter said it's nice to have her home, but if things had gone as planned, her daughter would still be enrolled in her Head Start program.

"I went to pick her up from school, and the teacher told us the school was closing on the 19th of April … and that was kind of shocking actually," she said.