A Weekly Advocacy Message from Research!America: Minibus, Omnibus: What’s best for medical innovation?

Dear Research Advocate:

“Never a dull moment” is how one advocate described this year’s appropriations cycle as Chairwoman Mikulski, Chairman Rogers, and other key appropriators try every which way to restore some semblance of regular order to the process.

The Senate Labor-H bill, which allocates funding for NIH, CDC and AHRQ and was originally scheduled for full committee mark-up on June 12, has been postponed indefinitely. The House has passed a Commerce-Science-Justice (CJS) bill containing a healthy increase (3.2%) in NSF funding, but the House Agriculture bill, which includes a net reduction in FDA funding when new responsibilities are taken into account, was postponed in the wake of a wholly unexpected leadership shake-up. Meanwhile, the Senate is trying something it hasn’t attempted in several years: it is allowing any germane amendment to be offered as it considers a “minibus” of three appropriations measures on the Senate floor: CJS, Transportation-Housing, and Agriculture.

As Research!America Chairman John Porter stressed in an op-ed in the current issue of Science magazine, now’s the time to cultivate more champions for research, and scientists must do their part to make this happen. Shed the lab coats and engage the public and policy makers as never before. Dr.Thomas A. Sellers of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute also described the sense of urgency in boosting federal funds for research in a commentary published in the Association of American Cancer Institutes e-newsletter.

On the advocacy front, here is the fourth in our series of fact sheets designed to put a human face on the value of medical research. Victor Medina is a retired U.S. Army Sergeant First Class who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while serving in Iraq. The Department of Defense is working with the NIH and other research agencies to help wounded warriors like Victor and other TBI patients recover from these severe, multi-symptom injuries. Thank you again for taking the time to send these fact sheets to your Representatives in Congress. Research!America continues to receive feedback from the offices of Republicans and Democrats that these fact sheets hold meaning for them, and they are getting attention because of you.

We hope you will take part in the Ask Your Candidates! (AYC!) selfies/photo project, which is designed both to engage more voters and candidates in the national voter education initiative, and more broadly, to demonstrate that medical progress is woven into our everyday lives. Here is some inspiration. It would be great if you, your friends, and loved ones could help keep his photo company! Click here for more information!

This week’s letter was authored by Suzanne Ffolkes, Vice President of Communications at Research!America.


Suzanne Ffolkes

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