A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Rescission Decision

Mary Woolley

Dear Research Advocate:

On Tuesday, President Trump officially sent his rescissions package to Congress, impounding $15.4 billion in discretionary and mandatory spending authority and requesting that Congress rescind (cancel) it. While uncertainty still reigns, it appears that both Houses will, in fact, go through the process of formally reviewing the rescissions package. Members of Congress have a 45-day window to act; if they don’t, it’s back to business as usual. Here is a quick primer the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget put together on the rescissions process.

Among the discretionary and mandatory funding cuts included in the package: $400 million in Ebola funding and $800 million in funding for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), which leverages health services and health economics research to test new healthcare financing and delivery models. While rescissions are typically (and have in this case) been floated on the grounds that they make fiscal sense, it is sometimes (and in this case) difficult to reconcile that reasoning with facts on the ground. Today, Research!America sent two letters, oneto House and Senate leadership and another to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees (the committees of jurisdiction over CMMI) making the case for tabling these cuts.

A major focus of CMMI is value-based reimbursement (VBR). On Thursday, May 24 at 12:30 p.m. ET, Greg Daniel of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy will join alliance members to discuss this important area of health research and policy. Email Jacqueline (jlagoy@researchamerica.org) for more details on participating in person or by phone.

It’s been a busy week in the FY19 appropriations cycle. The House Agriculture and “CJS” Appropriations Subcommittees marked up their bills yesterday. The Ag bill includes $3.1 billion for FDA in FY19, a $308 million increase over FY18 but $200 million less than the President’s budget request. The CJS bill would fund NSF at $8.2 billion, $408 million above FY18 omnibus levels. That’s $250 million below our FY19 ask (which mirrors that of the Coalition for National Science Funding [CNSF]), but $730 million above the president’s request.

Long story short, while we have not yet reached our goal for either agency, the fact that the subcommittees are seeking these increases given the minute amount of wiggle room they have in FY19 is terrific. If you have time to send a thank you tweet their way, here are the Twitter handles for the House Ag and CJS Subcommittee members.

This time of year, when appropriations hearings and markups abound, it’s easy to get caught up in the math; however, it’s what these dollars enable that’s the real currency here. The Taskforce for American Innovation (TFAI), of which Research!America is proud to be part, has put together a terrific one-pager on the benefits of scientific research. Check it out and amplify!

Speaking of the return on research, you may have seen the NIH statement released last week in recognition of World Asthma Day highlighting the Institutes’ research against this high burden health issue. Join us next Tuesday, May 15, for a Hill briefing featuring Dr. Peter Gergan from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and other stellar panelists discussing the public-private sector research continuum that drives progress against asthma. Here is a copy of the Dear Colleague the House Asthma and Allergy Caucus co-chairs circulated on the briefing. RSVP here.

Another event we hope you can attend: On Monday, May 21, the American Society for Microbiology, Research!America, and the American Society for Virology are hosting the Director of NIAID Dr. Tony Fauci, and the Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Dr. Nancy Messonnier, for a discussion about the significance of vaccines and other pandemic countermeasures to the public health and safety. During this event, which is taking place in conjunction with the opening of a new Smithsonian exhibit exploring the devastating impact of the 1918 flu pandemic, we’ll also be releasing new, relevant survey findings. I hope you’ll join us. Register here.

The deadline for Research!America 2019 Advocacy Award nominations is Friday, May 18. Learn more and submit nominations here.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

 

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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