Senate

How does a biomedical sciences student with interests in clinical research go on to intern in the United States Senate? Like many other students, my undergraduate career followed a traditional path toward higher education. I kept my grades up, participated in extracurriculars, and was involved in a few clubs on campus. However, thanks to friends, mentors and the internet, it was clear that a career in STEM presented an immense number of other amazing opportunities. Looking into these opportunities, research quickly grabbed my attention. A professor was the first to introduce me to research and he motivated me to explore summer research opportunities. Looking back, I am grateful he did,...
Dear Research Advocate: Today, the House Labor-HHS appropriations subcommittee marked up its FY17 funding bill, which includes funding for NIH, CDC and AHRQ. NIH received a $1.25 billion increase, $750 million less than the Senate increase. Given the subcommittee’s overall budget allocation ($569 million below fiscal year 2016) and the more conservative funding climate in the House, this is still an extraordinarily positive outcome. At the markup, Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK-04) noted that the $1.25 billion increase set a floor - rather than a ceiling - for NIH funding in FY17, a positive sign for potential negotiations with the Senate later in the process. The House Labor-HHS bill proposes a...
Dear Research Advocate: The news from the CDC this week is concerning. For the first time in over a decade the overall, all-cause mortality rate for the U.S. is higher than in the preceding year. This unexpected news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement confirming the first U.S. case of an E. coli infection resistant to colistin, a last-resort antibiotic, reminding us of just how important it is to curtail and outpace antimicrobial resistance. And we have word of the second baby born in the U.S. with microcephaly due to Zika, as well as a new estimate that 300 pregnant women in the U.S. have the virus. On their own, each of these stories should serve as a wake-up call for...
Dear Research Advocate: The CDC has concluded that a causal relationship exists between the Zika virus and microcephaly. Earlier this week, Congress passed a law providing incentives for private sector development of Zika vaccines and treatments. But responding to threats like Zika is a resource-intensive, multi-pronged process. We are working with the March of Dimes and other partners to fight for emergency funding. Interested in joining this effort? Let me know! The Senate Appropriations Committee has parsed the overall FY17 discretionary budget into “302(b)” allocations for its various subcommittees. Given that the topline numbers are virtually flat, it is not particularly surprising...
Dear Research Advocate: I’m pleased to announce that Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will be giving remarks at our Annual Meeting on March 16 at noon at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. We will also be hearing from newly confirmed FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and ALS patient advocate Lorri Carey. I hope you’ll join us at the annual meeting as well as at the Annual Advocacy Awards Dinner that evening. See our ad in Roll Call . Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) were joined by the eight other democratic members of the Senate HELP Committee today as they introduced the National Biomedical Research Act . This bill would provide a new mandatory funding stream for NIH...
Over the course of his last few weeks before retiring, Speaker Boehner worked with fellow House and Senate leaders and the President to fashion a budget deal that increases the nation’s debt limit and provides an additional $80 billion above sequestration-level spending caps. Both non-defense and defense programs will receive $25 billion more in fiscal year 2016 (FY16) and $15 billion more in FY 2017. The House has passed this budget plan, and the Senate is expected to follow suit by Tuesday. See our statement . Passing this deal is step one. Step two is allocating top-line budget numbers across the 12 appropriations subcommittees (these allocations are known as “302(b)s”). This will likely...
Dear Research Advocate, Research!America is on the Hill and in the media continuing to make the case for timely action in Congress to boost medical progress. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss the 21st Century Cures Act and the Senate’s Innovation initiative in a recent issue of Roll Call . The bottom line is this: we need to keep this ball rolling. Congress has a notoriously short attention span - too many issues, not enough time - so advocates should not only be pushing for what they want to see in the Senate bill, they should be pushing to see a Senate bill ASAP. Unless you’ve managed to steer clear of all forms of media in recent days, you probably know that the first official...
Dear Research Advocate, I am pleased to repeat myself when I report that it’s been another science-heavy week on Capitol Hill...and most, but not all, of the news is good. This morning, the Energy and Commerce Committee passed (51-0, a tremendous bipartisan victory) the 21st Century Cures Act with new mandatory funding for FDA, and with the NIH Innovation fund intact...and both are paid for! Representatives Upton (R-MI-06) and DeGette (D-CO-01) kept their word and managed, in an extraordinarily tight fiscal environment, to negotiate viable supplemental funding for federal agencies pivotal to medical progress. I am not saying the bill is perfect, nor arguing that stakeholders should support...
The House Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee considered the next draft of the 21st Century Cures legislation this morning. New to the draft - demonstrating that advocacy works - is the addition of language calling for $10 billion for NIH in mandatory funding over five years. This so-called ‘innovation fund’ is currently earmarked for precision medicine, young investigator awards, and an “other” category, yet to be specified. Please take a moment today to thank Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI-06), Diana DeGette (D-CO-01), Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), Joe Pitts (R-PA-16) and Gene Green (D-TX-29) for championing this landmark provision. This bill is not a finished product, and our statement (here)...
The increase for the National Institutes of Health is a step in the right direction to accelerate medical progress but we cannot sustain our nation’s engine of discovery with dollops of fuel; a more robust investment is critical to maintaining our pre-eminence in science and saving lives. Researchers are closer to understanding ways to effectively treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes and other health threats that exact a tremendous financial and emotional toll on patients and their families. Yet federal funding has failed to keep pace with the level of scientific opportunity, and Americans are aware of the disconnect. More than half of those surveyed say elected officials...

Sidebar Quote

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