Mary Woolley Weekly Advocacy Messages

Members of Congress are back in town following the Fourth of July holiday, and talks are taking place between Congressional leaders and the Administration to resolve the issue of the budget. Complicating matters is the need for Congress to pass and the Administration to approve an increase in the debt limit.

“Not only is it important to ask questions and find the answers, as a scientist I felt obligated to communicate with the world what we were learning.” 

“June Gloom” is what the residents of Los Angeles call this past month’s weather.  I was in California last week at the invitation of UC Riverside, which has, in addition to a robust portfolio of federally funded research, an inspiring commitment to the community.  For the record, it wasn’t gloomy in Riverside, but then, the LA area is vast, and the overcast is closer to the ocean. There is a decent parallel here to the vastness of the landscape for support of research in Washington:  the House passed two “minibus” appropriations packages this month that include significant increases for federal agencies that support research. This week we issued a statement about the passage of the second minibus, which includes funding increases for the FDA and NSF. While the FDA number ($3.26B, an $180M increase) is a step in the right direction, we are working to ensure the Senate goes with the Administration’s higher request of $3.33B.

Later today, I will participate on a panel at Aspen Ideas: Health to explore the implications of an ambitious new survey commissioned by the Wellcome Trust. 

The House is working to reach its goal of passing all twelve FY20 appropriations bills by the end of June; today's briefing on the Bayh-Dole Act.

Yesterday, the Administration announced that an NIH fetal tissue research-related contract with UCSF will not be renewed; intramural researchers at NIH will no longer be able to procure fetal tissue for research; and another layer of review will be imposed on all those seeking federal funding for fetal tissue research. 

At our recent jam-packed Alliance Member Meeting we heard from Grace Graham, Health Policy Director for Senate HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN), and Andi Fristedt, Deputy Health Policy Director for Ranking Member Murray (D-WA). 

Negotiations on raising the budget caps will reportedly resume when Congress returns from a week-long break. 

The House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee markup of Fiscal Year 2020 spending priorities on Tuesday featured lots of good news. 

When members of Congress return to Washington, D.C. next week, the House will begin considering Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations bills, with the Labor-HHS Subcommittee scheduled to mark up their bill on April 30. 

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