Dear Research Advocate,
The appropriations season has begun in earnest, with hearings on the departments and agencies. Dr. Subra Suresh, director of the National Science Foundation, testified before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. You can view his testimony here. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health and Human Services, testified before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. In her testimony, she recognized the integral role that the NIH plays in improving health while spurring economic growth. The new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) was also highlighted as a model for partnering with the private sector to foster the development of new treatments and drugs.
Commissioner Margaret Hamburg testified before the House Subcommittee on Agriculture/FDA appropriations last week, thanking the subcommittee for the recent increases in FDA funding. In her remarks, she highlighted the integral role that FDA plays in approving innovative drugs that can help reduce the cost of health care. You can view Commissioner Hamburg’s full testimony here.
More hearings are coming up. Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA) have stepped up to co-author a Dear Colleague letter to the House Appropriations Committee for at least $1.3 billion in increased NIH funding. This bipartisan effort is exactly what is needed to demonstrate that research is not a Republican or a Democrat issue – it is an American issue that has a dramatic impact on our health, our economy and our global competitiveness. Send a letter to your representatives right away and urge them to sign on to the Markey-Bilbray letter to support NIH funding: http://capwiz.com/ram/issues/alert/?alertid=61067086
Friends of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is circulating a letter for community sign-on. The letter requests $400 million for AHRQ’s base budget in FY 2013, which is $66 million more than the $334 million level included in the President’s budget. The president supplements AHRQ’s base funding with several budget transfers that, unfortunately, are unlikely to pass Congress. Contact Lindsey Horan at Lindsey.firstname.lastname@example.org if your organization would like to sign the letter.
The election frenzy continues with exciting results from Super Tuesday, but there are still more than 20 presidential primaries remaining! Kansas, Wyoming, Alabama, Mississippi and Hawaii are right around the corner and there is still plenty of time to craft an op-ed or letter to the editor. Super Tuesday also marks the start of the congressional primaries, which provide another opportunity to engage candidates on medical research issues. Given the current fiscal debates in Washington, we need to keep research for health top of mind for candidates and elected officials alike and encourage them to stand up for research.
I spoke on Super Tuesday to hundreds of volunteers from every state in the nation who had come to Washington to lobby their representatives (over 300 were visited) for increased medical research funding. I talked about assuring that the next Super Tuesday – November 6 – is indeed “super” for research. You can view my slide deck here.
As you know, our annual events are right around the corner! The Mercury News in San Jose, CA, calls attention to our upcoming Advocacy Awards Dinner at which we will honor Mr. Scott Johnson of the Myelin Repair Foundation. Mr. Johnson will be receiving the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award during our event on March 14. I do hope you can join us in recognizing the Foundation and the other honorees, including the inestimable Sen. Barbara Mikulski.