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October 3, 2008

2008

October 3, 2008

US Members to Receive Weekly Updates of DC Issues

In recent years, the ATS has increased its efforts to advocate in Washington, DC for legislative, executive, and judicial actions that will improve the health and well-being of all Americans, especially those our members serve.

To keep our US members abreast of ATS efforts in the nation's capitol, ATS is now sending the Washington Letter, which previously was emailed only to those who subscribed, to all members working in the U.S..

The letter, which is emailed most Fridays when Congress is in session, provides a concise overview of issues of concern to ATS members.

While the ATS believes the Washington Letter will be of interest to most members, the Society recognizes that some may not want to receive the newsletter on a regular basis. (The letters are archived on the ATS Website in the Advocacy section.) Those members can easily unsubscribe from the service by clicking on a link at the bottom of this page.

 

Tuberculosis: TB Bill Passes Senate Unanimously

The domestic tuberculosis bill is a small step away from enactment. On September 27, the Senate unanimously passed the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act, H.R. 1532, sponsored by Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). The Senate's action follows a unanimous House vote three days earlier. Overwhelming bipartisan passage of the bill in Congress is a key success for the ATS, which drafted the legislation along with the National TB Controller's Association and Stop TB USA, and led efforts for its passage for several years.

This legislation will provide a 43 percent increase in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, including funding for state TB control programs, and expand research on TB prevention, diagnostic, and treatment tools at the CDC and National Institutes of Health.The bill will also intensify efforts to prevent, detect and treat the disease among African-Americans and other minorities and expand detection of TB at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as treatment of bi-national TB cases.

The President is expected to sign the legislation into law. Thanks to all ATS members who contacted their members of Congress over the past year in support of the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act. The ATS Washington Office would like to especially thank ATS South Carolina members Franklin McGuire, M.D., and Marc Judson, M.D., for their advocacy work with their senators.

 

Research: Congress Provides $20 million for DOD Lung Cancer Research

Congress has provided $20 million in the FY09 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill to study lung cancer. The bill calls upon the Army to develop a plan for spending the funds and report back to Congress 120 days after enactment of the legislation.

The DOD lung cancer research program is modeled after the existing breast cancer research program established by Congress in 1992. The DOD breast cancer research program was a creative way to get around spending caps on health programs. At the time, Congress had established a cap on all non-defense domestic discretionary spending, but did allow increases in defense spending. Advocates for increased breast cancer championed a breast cancer research program at DOD, which received $138 million in funding in FY08.

 

Research: Congress Increases VA Research Funding

As part of the FY09 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill, Congress provided $510 million for the VA research program, an increase of $30 million (+6.25%) over FY08 and an increase of $68 million over what the Bush Administration proposed for FY09.

The ATS, in partnership with the Friends of VA Medical Care and the Health Research coalition, is a leading advocate for the VA research program. The ATS recommended $555 million for the VA research program for FY09.

Budget: Temporary Spending Measure Signed into Law; Economic Stimulus Package Fails

This week, following House and Senate approval, the President signed into law a $600 billion continuing resolution that funds government programs, including the NIH and CDC, at FY08 funding levels until March 6, 2009. The bill also includes $22.9 billion in disaster relief for states devastated by the recent hurricanes. In passing the resolution, Congress is delaying action on final funding levels until after the Presidential election. Also this week, a proposed economic stimulus bill (separate legislation unrelated to the financial bailout package) that included $1.2 billion in supplemental funding for the NIH failed to attract enough Senate support, despite passing the House the previous day.



Points of Contact

Gary Ewart Senior Director, Government Relations
Nuala Moore Senior Legislative Representative
Joe Kirby DC Office Administrator