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Fireworks and More Fireworks

Greetings, we’re sending out my Weekly Letter a day early in advance of the 4th of July holiday. As we prepare to celebrate, it’s worth noting that American consumers will spend ~$13.5 billion on food and drink for the holiday. That is more than the annual appropriations for the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, combined. We can have fun on the Fourth and invest more robustly in research. Thank you for partnering with us to make the case.

On the Hill: The full House Appropriations Committee will markup the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) and the Labor, Health and Human Services (Labor-HHS) bills on July 9 and July 10 respectively. We don’t anticipate changes to the funding levels proposed in these bills (recall the NSF would increase from $9.09 billion to $9.26 billion, NIH would be flat-funded and fundamentally restructured, ARPA-H and CDC would receive deep cuts, and AHRQ funding would be eliminated). In case you missed it, here is our statement on the Labor-HHS bill. 

Senate appropriators will begin their first FY25 markup when they return from the 4th of July break. We anticipate the release of the Senate 302(b) allocations early in the week ahead of any markups. Take a moment using this editable email to ask your Senators to champion increased funding for NIH, NSF, and our nation’s other research agencies. You and I know that the U.S. cannot afford to lose ground or even tread water in the science & technology arenas. Cultivate congressional champions who can translate that reality into increased investment.

Cures RFI Reminder:  Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) have circulated a letter seeking input on key questions to inform “Cures 3.0,” the latest iteration of the landmark 21st Century Cures Act. That bipartisan legislation, signed into law in 2016, codified important policy reforms and funding aiming to accelerate medical and public health progress. Feedback should be submitted by August 2 to [email protected]. Alliance members: watch this space for an off-the-record Zoom meeting to compare notes.

Alliance Members-only NIH Framework Meeting #2: We are holding a second alliance members-only meeting (again, off-the-record) on the proposed NIH framework and restructuring proposals from the framework that have been incorporated into the House FY25 Labor-HHS appropriations bill. This virtual meeting, taking place Monday, July 8, from noon to 1:00 pm ET, will feature Grace Graham and Molly (Brimmer) Lolli with the Majority staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Kathryn Salmon, professional staff member with the Majority staff of the House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee. 

If you are with a Research!America alliance member organization (see our list of member organizations), register here and we will send you a calendar invite with a Zoom link. Again, this meeting will be off-the-record and is open to Research!America alliance members only; please do not share the Zoom link we send you. If you are not a member and would like more information, please contact Kristen Furlong. 

Mexico Boosts Science: Add our neighbor to the south to the list of countries working to boost their standing in science and technology. Mexican President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo recently announced that she would be elevating that nation’s science council to a “secretariat,” the highest administrative level in the government, according to an article in Science. Meanwhile, the U.S. is falling dangerously behind the funding levels authorized in the bipartisan CHIPS & Science Act. How can Congress and the Administration position the U.S. for sustained leadership in the science & technology arenas? Check out the proposals put forth by the Science and Action Technology Committee.

As the public opinion surveys we commission affirm, the American people believe it is important that the U.S. be a global leader in science and technology. Elected officials listen to their constituents: use our survey results in your advocacy!

Emerging Threat of Dengue and Other Tropical Diseases:  As we have emphasized, dengue and other tropical diseases are an increasing threat globally and here in the U.S. Join our alliance discussion on Tuesday, July 9, at 2 p.m. ET, to hear from and engage with Dr. David Fitter, Director, Division of Global Migration Health; Dr. Monica Parise, Deputy Director for Science and Program, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria; and Dr. Lyle Petersen, Director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, from the CDC National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Register here.

Clinical Trials

  • Participation: Encouraging broad and diverse participation in clinical trials is an essential step in assuring all Americans benefit from research findings. Travel, time commitment, and the potential financial burden can all be barriers to participation. For example, clinical trial payments received by participants are taxable, believe it or not! Please join us for an alliance discussion with Quinn Ritchie, Legislative Director to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) on Thursday, July 11 at 1 p.m. ET, for a conversation on congressional efforts to address financial deterrents to clinical trials participation. Register now.
  • Diversity: Last week, the FDA issued draft recommendations on how to improve diversity among clinical trial participants. The agency is seeking input on the recommendations before finalizing them. Read the draft guidance here and submit your comments here by September 26.
  • Clinical Trials Hill Briefing: We hope you will join and encourage your contacts on Capitol Hill to attend an in-person briefing focused on the who, what, why, and how of clinical trials. “Understanding the Power and Possibility of Clinical Trials” is taking place Tuesday, July 30, from noon to 1:30 p.m. ET in the Rayburn House Office Building Room 2075. Lunch will be available. Space is limited, so register soon.

Wishing you and yours a Happy (and bountiful – don’t take the comparison at the top of this letter personally!) 4th!