Joe Biden: "Bizarre" Trump budget cuts could set back cancer research

Former VP on cancer initiative
Former VP on cancer initiative 03:54

Former Vice President Joe Biden is stepping up his campaign for a medical cause that's deeply personal. Two years after his oldest son, Beau, died of cancer, Biden outlined his non-profit cancer initiative at the Fortune Brainstorm Health conference Tuesday night in San Diego.

"CBS This Morning" contributor Dr. David Agus, a cancer specialist at Southern California Keck School of Medicine, sits on the initiative's board and moderated the conversation. 

Biden spoke about the significant impact he fears budget cuts could have on critical medical research, and also addressed whether he plans to run in the 2020 presidential election.

Speaking before some of the top leaders in the biotech and health industry, the former vice president stressed the role of the government in scientific research that could lead to a cure.

"You've got to be able to do something to give some people some hope, to have a shot," Biden said.

EPA goes back to basics 05:20

He took aim at President Trump's proposal to slash billions from science and environmental agencies, pointing out that even some members of Mr. Trump's own party have spoken out against the cuts.
"I think our Republican colleagues have decided there are certain things that are just not negotiable, and I think science, the EPA, the idea, the idea that we're gutting — the proposal to gut the EPA, I mean, come on, for gosh sakes. It's just bizarre!" Biden exclaimed.

Agus asked, "How are we going to get the next young generation excited to make a difference here?"

"I think they are excited now," Biden replied. "You're starting to see a rising tide, a considerable rising tide. But what worries me is that, you know, if we just for one or two years make significant cuts we'll lose a whole generation of young people who would have moved and migrated to the area of dealing with anything from Alzheimer's to cancer. So it matters."

Agus also asked whether he is considering running in the 2020 presidential election, after opting out in 2016.

"Now the election's over, Donald Trump is president and I'm disappointed, to state the obvious, but it was the right decision for me not to run and I don't plan on running. But everybody says because I won't commit that I will not run under any circumstance that must mean I'm running. I'm doing nothing to run," Biden said.