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April 1, 2011


Washington Letter
April 1, 2011
Newsletter of the American Thoracic Society's Washington Office

1150 18th Street NW
Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20036
Telephone:(202) 296-9770

ATS Hill Day

ATS members from across the country came to the Capitol this week to have their voices heard on important policy issues that affectour patients and professions. ATS members met with members of Congress and their staffs to advocate for increasing research funding to the National Institutes of Health and the VA research program, for preserving the Clean Air Act, and the for establishing a federal program to address COPD.

In addition to visiting key members of Congress, ATS Hill Day participants heard from key decision-makers in Congress and theAdministration and on a broad range of subjects ranging fromthe Sustainable Growth Rate fix, to climate change and research funding.

"Hill Day was an eye-opening experience for me," said ATS president-elect, Nick Hill, MD."Overall, it was avery good experience and gave me some insight into how things work. I think the voices of ATS members can have an impact."


Congress Struggles to Reach FY2011 Spending Compromise by April 8 Deadline

Houseand Senate leaders got back to negotiations this week to finalize FY2011 spending. The current Continuing Resolution passed by the Congress a few weeks ago expires on April 8. House and Senate leaders have then to pass a measure that will fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. If they do not pass a bill by April 8, the government will shut down. House leaders are pushing for the FY2011 spending bill passed by the House in February,which included $61 billion in spending cuts.

The House and Senate are rumored to be close to an agreement on the amount of spending cuts to be included in the final FY2011 bill, which is said to cut $33 billion from FY2010 funding levels.The House leadership will not confirm that it has agreed to an exact number. It has not yet been revealed what programs are under consideration for these cuts.


EPA Climate Change Vote Expected Soon

The Senate is expected to vote on a series of amendments to removeor restrict the EPA's authority to regulate green house gases as part of legislation to address the needs of small businesses.There are at least 3 (and potentially more) amendments that Senate will consider, including:

  • The McConnell Amendment, which would permanently remove the EPA's authority to address climate change;
  • The Rockefeller Amendment, which would create a two-year delay in the EPA's authority to implement climatechange regulations; and
  • The Baucus Amendment, which would exempt certain industries (such as?) from the EPA's climate change rules.

ATS members are urged to contact their senators and ask them to vote "NO" on the any amendment to remove or restrict the EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act.You can find your senators' contact information here.http://www.thoracic.org/advocacy/contact-congress.php



The Washington Letter is written by the American Thoracic Society government relations office and emailed to all ATS members living in the United States. The letter keeps clinicians, scientists, and patients abreast of legislative, judicial, and regulatory issues in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. Each week's edition is archived on the ATS Web site, www.thoracic.org. If you have any questions or one more information about becoming involved in advocacy, please contact the ATS Washington office at 202-296-9770.