Congress

Dear Research Advocate: Today the House and Senate passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to flat-fund the government through December 22. Congressional leaders hope this stop-gap will buy them enough time to negotiate a bipartisan budget deal that raises the Defense and non-Defense (NDD) spending caps. If the budget deal (#RaisetheCaps) is finalized by the 22nd, Congress may well pass yet another short-term CR to allow a month or two to complete an FY18 omnibus spending bill based on the new, higher funding levels. Continued momentum behind a budget deal is definitely good news, but momentum can wane; here is a new resource, culled from our state-by-state fact sheet series, that...
Research!America is hosting a digital advocacy initiative on September 11–12 to urge Congress to #RaisetheCaps during negotiations of the FY18 budget. The 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) established austerity-level federal spending, and in FY18 the sequestration budget caps or automatic spending cuts for federal agencies will be back in full force. This will tie policymakers’ hands and stall major projects ranging from supercomputers to biohazard labs that researchers need to effectively prevent emerging epidemics, develop the next generation of super materials, and find the links between genes and disease. It is crucial that advocates raise their voices now and convince Congress to #...
The Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 was not only riveting, it was a reminder that Americans are as enraptured as ever by science. The challenge is not to convince the public that scientific exploration is meaningful, it is to convince them that scientific exploration is at risk. Which brings me back, inevitably, to the federal budget. When they return from August recess, members of Congress face formidable budget challenges: to prevent default, they need to raise the debt limit. To prevent a government shutdown, they need to pass an FY18 budget bill. There are only 12 days in September when both houses of Congress are in session, and President Trump needs to sign these bills (or a combined bill...
Dear Research Advocate, President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening. With his heartfelt recognition of Megan Crowley and Rare Disease Day, and his vision that "[achieving] cures to illnesses that have always plagued us are not too much to hope," the President demonstrated his commitment to faster medical progress. In 2013, we honored Megan’s father, John Crowley, with the Gordon and Llura Gund Leadership Award for his outstanding efforts to accelerate new treatments for Pompe disease, which afflicts Megan. Speaking for all the parents and all the patients who are waiting, we say it’s not too much to hope that we will see the President’s priority for finding...
February is American Heart Month, a time dedicated to increasing awareness about ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and thrive with heart disease. On behalf of the 43 million women living with or at risk for heart disease, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease urges Congress to increase support for research and access to high quality, affordable health care for all women. Research and access to care are critically important in the fight against heart disease, the leading cause of death for women. Evidence-based diagnostic techniques, treatments and rehabilitation services make it possible for patients to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle, even after a heart...
Dear Research Advocate, This just in--the final version of the 21st Century Cures Act has been filed with the House Rules Committee in anticipation of a House vote next week. And to understate the news: it’s great!! The bill contains mandatory funding of $8.75 billion for the NIH Innovation Fund and $550 million for FDA. Compared to the version that passed the Energy and Commerce Committee, that’s $1.25 billion less for the Innovation Fund over five years. But considering what Reps. Upton (R-MI-06) and DeGette (D-CO-01) were up against in securing this supplemental funding stream, and thinking about what these dollars could mean for medical progress, the end result is a HUGE victory. Click...
Letter to the editor by Research!America VP of Communications Suzanne Ffolkes published in The Gainesville Sun . In reference to the Dec. 28 editorial ’€œ Funding innovation ,’€ countless medical breakthroughs would not have been possible without the support of federal funding. It is imperative that research and innovation become a higher national priority for the new Congress. Bipartisan proposals to advance medical progress ’€” like the 21st Century Cures Initiative that includes provisions to boost federal funding for research, modernize clinical trials and incentivize the development of new drugs and devices, among others ’€” should be given serious consideration. Stagnant funding over...
Excerpt of an op-ed by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley published in the Huffington Post . As the new Congress sets priorities, there are strong indications that the political climate is ripe for a surge in science. Bipartisan support for the 21st Century Cures Initiative, a comprehensive study of roadblocks to medical innovation and development of new disease therapies and treatments, is slated to move forward with draft legislation early next year. The measure is expected to address six areas of reform: integrating patients’ perspectives into the regulatory process, modernizing clinical trials, fostering the future of science, investing in advancing research, incentivizing...
One of the fundamental goals of the Ask Your Candidates! (AYC!) initiative is to ensure that medical progress takes its rightful place among the priorities candidates discuss as they vie for a seat in Congress. To further this and the central, voter education agenda of AYC!, we’€™ve launched an ad campaign on POLITICO.com. These ads, which will run through July 27 th , have three different frames, each of which poses a question on the topic of medical progress: 1) What will candidates for Congress do to help kids who need cures? 2) What will candidates for Congress do to help the 30 million Americans with a rare disease? 3) What will candidates for Congress do to help families grow old...
Dear Research Advocate, This is the time of year when many of us attempt to translate our successes, defeats, observations and unfulfilled goals into New Year’€™s resolutions. I have some thoughts about resolutions in the context of advocacy for research to improve health. I welcome your feedback as Research!America continues to fight for funding and a policy environment that propels medical and health progress forward. 1) We will not only push for pro-innovation policy making, we will push for policy making itself. In other words: leadership, bipartisanship and compromise. The recent bipartisan, bicameral budget action in Congress is a small step in the right direction, but it is just the...

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You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter