Tag Archives: John Porter

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: The peacock and the ostrich (wait for it…)

Dear Research Advocate,

Sequestration, the looming fiscal cliff, a dangerous House appropriations bill – all were addressed in our members-only call yesterday with Chairman John Porter. As Porter pointed out, we have to keep the big picture in mind, pushing for tax and entitlement reform as part of the larger “fix,” AND, in the immediate, we have to cry foul about the House bill and sequestration. Right now, while Congress is still in session, we must flood their offices, and the Administration, with calls and e-mails. Take 30 seconds to send a message to your representatives to remind them that medical research should be among our nation’s highest priorities. And – as was emphasized by many on the call – keep in mind that even as we step up advocacy we must resist the temptation to go after our own piece of the pie or be lured into supporting unprecedented congressional micromanagement of NIH. NIH micromanagement threatened now, CDC micromanaged in the past and now facing a steep cut, AHRQ eliminated – we have to halt all this in its tracks!

We must all stand shoulder to shoulder with one another.  Take a stand against every aspect of micromanagement whenever it rears its ugly head – speak up, for example, against baring the NIH from funding research in the critical field of health economics. Click here to sign on to the letter at COSSA@cossa.org.

Have you noticed the vast difference between how the defense community is working to stop sequestration, in contrast to the rest of us? There are millions of us who care about health and research for health every bit as much as we care about defense. Yet it’s the defense stakeholders who are speaking with one voice, and are loud and proud in strutting their stuff to remind us of what is at stake – they are the peacocks to our ostrich-like image, not ready for prime time! The good news is that we, part of the non-defense discretionary (NDD) community, have lifted our heads out of the sand and are starting to be heard. Yesterday on the Hill, hundreds of advocates attended a rally to raise awareness regarding the importance of federal agencies and programs funded from the non-defense discretionary budget. Senator Harkin (D-IA), the chair of the Senate subcommittee that sets funding for NIH, CDC, and AHRQ, spoke at the rally and released this report detailing the impact of sequester on these programs. The media is taking increased notice; now we must all leverage this to make NDD funding an issue that is impossible to ignore.

Speaking of media, check out a recent piece in the Providence Journal  and this story in Bloomberg Businessweek, about how AHRQ-funded research saves both lives and money.  As I mentioned, the House bill would eliminate this critical agency.  AcademyHealth has launched a campaign to save AHRQ and stop other damage — we should add our voice to #No4LaborH on Twitter – social media is critical in these times; get involved!

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

P.S. We lost an American hero this week. Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, died from pancreatic cancer. She was only 61. Her many accomplishments and dedication to promoting science education is inspirational. To ensure a strong, sustained bioscience ecosystem, we must carry forth her legacy by fighting for robust STEM education programs as part of the research pipeline. Her life and dedication to breaking barriers reminds me how far our nation has come in terms of scientific and social progress, while her untimely death is a testament to the importance of individual scientists taking time to be educators and advocates.

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: ALARMING House Bill

Dear Research Advocate,

“Shell-shocked” is a fair way to describe reaction to the latest appropriations bill in which the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies subcommittee released its funding recommendations. The NIH was flat-funded and seriously micromanaged in unprecedented ways, CDC funding was cut deeply, and funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) was terminated. See our press statement on the bill here and the Nature article that included our quote.  The Science Insider article also has details.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, an amendment to the subcommittee bill would have slashed another $8.3 billion – fortunately this was defeated, but there is room for more trouble, especially if stakeholders are quiet. The bill is scheduled for a vote in the full Appropriations Committee next week, and while unlikely to receive a final vote in the House until after the elections, the precedent set and message sent by the House bill is a dangerous one.

Don’t delay; send a message to your representatives reminding them that NIH, CDC and AHRQ are not afterthought agencies. They are vital for protecting Americans, fighting disease and powering job creation. I’ve asked in past that you pen an op-ed or letter to the editor. If you haven’t already, now is the time. We’ll help.

Today, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) held a meeting to highlight its finding that other countries offer stronger R&D tax incentives than those offered by the United States. In fact, the U.S. ranks 27th compared to competing countries. Pragmatism dictates that our nation takes steps to change the downward-trending trajectory. We cannot under-incent private sector R&D and expect the U.S. to remain the world’s leading innovator. You simply can’t get there from here.

On July 25th at 3 p.m., we’ll be holding a members-only conference call with Research!America Chair John Porter to discuss the recent markup and the outlook for research funding as appropriations decisions, the election and the fiscal cliff approach. Please join us and RSVP to mbronstein@researchamerica.org. The call-in number is 877-355-0068 and the ID code is 99825483.

In my last letter, I asked for a few minutes of your time to complete a short questionnaire on my weekly advocacy messages. My thanks to those who have responded. If you haven’t yet completed the questionnaire, please take a moment to do so.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley