Dear Research Advocate:
With only eleven days until the end of the fiscal year, Congress has yet to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government past September 30. The House is expected to vote on, and pass, a bill that does not include funding to administer Obamacare as part of their “CR;” the Senate and the President will not agree, thus almost certainly forcing a government shutdown.
The issue of what to do about sequestration is almost certainly not going to be resolved as part of negotiating this short-term CR. That means we must continue to fight for action, and there has been a flurry of advocacy on Capitol Hill. This included, but was certainly not limited to the inaugural class of our Postdoctoral Advocacy Academy, who visited their Members’ offices to share stories of how sequestration has impacted their work and careers. And yesterday, Research!America’s Chair, former Congressman John E. Porter, gave the “go get ‘em” charge at the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day. Thanks to the leadership of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), the day attracted more than 150 organizations, with more than 225 survivors and other advocates from more than 40 states descending on Washington. Also this week, the AACR released their third annual Cancer Report, demonstrating the tremendous return on the nation’s investment in basic research.
There is a sliver of light coming from Congress: a new Caucus has emerged that aims to dissolve partisan gridlock. The “Congressional Future Caucus,” co-chaired by Reps. Aaron Schock (R-IL-18) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-2), will push for action on issues like infrastructure and education, jobs and innovation. Other members of the caucus include Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-FL-18), Joe Kennedy (D-MA-4) and Todd Young (R-IN-9). As this caucus takes form, we are working to engage its members and ensure that medical research is an issue at the top of their agenda.
Advocates who were not able to join us last week will want to review the “Straight Talk” we heard at our National Health Research Forum. Our thanks to everyone who participated. The generous engagement and support of our sponsors, panelists, moderators and guests made this a program of high value. To watch the video and read the transcript, summary and news articles of the event, click here. We’re taking heed — and urge you to do so as well –to the many exhortations to do two things — work together to help assure as efficient a research ecosystem as possible, and raise the volume of our collective call for rational, pro-innovation decision-making in Washington!