Mary Woolley's Weekly Letter: Are We There Yet?

Ellie Dehoney

Dear Research Advocate,

Our guest author this week is Ellie Dehoney, Research!America’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy.

Some long-awaited, promising news regarding the budget caps: congressional leaders and the White House have agreed in principle on a deal that would raise the discretionary budget caps for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 and raise the debt limit sufficiently to avoid another “cliff” for at least two years.

There are (as there always seem to be) caveats: the amount by which the caps would increase is not yet public, negotiations continue on such variables as offsets, and we don’t yet know how the deal will fare with other than those members of Congress in leadership roles. Yet there is a palpable sense of urgency coupled with a prevailing sense of optimism; if the momentum continues, the House could vote on a favorable budget deal as early as next week.

The operative word is “if.” Momentum, particularly the bipartisan kind, is extraordinarily fragile; advocacy bolsters it. Use this link to tweet at your elected officials. If you’d rather email or call, find relevant resources here. For inspiration, read this compelling call to action AAU and APLU sent to the caps negotiators, and for examples of why it is particularly important to #fundscience once a caps deal is reached, see our new fact sheet on rare disease research. 

Speaking of appropriations, Research!America’s Senior Advisor, Jenny Luray, participated on a panel yesterday with House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX). The event, organized by 131 & Counting, highlighted the leadership of and strong partnership between the first female chair of House Appropriations and the committee's ranking member.  

In other welcome news, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 2328, the “Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act,” a legislative package that includes a three-year reauthorization of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). 

To empower greater reach for patient-centered research and accommodate the time horizons needed for this research to be completed, Research!America and PCORI’s many other supporters are pressing for a 10-year reauthorization. However, H.R. 2328 is a crucially important first step. We hope you’ll take a moment to thank the bill’s authors, Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY), as well as Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), and Health Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Ranking Member Michael Burgess (R-TX), for getting the ball rolling.

If your organization is a Research!America member (or is interested in joining!), our next alliance members meeting is an opportunity to thank Energy and Commerce Committee staff in person. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 1 p.m. ET. We will hear from committee staff from both sides of the aisle on their priorities for the remainder of 2019. Contact Jacqueline Lagoy at jlagoy@researchamerica.org for more details. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Ellie Dehoney

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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.
Abraham Lincoln