Key Policy Updates from Capitol Hill
Prior to adjourning for the holidays, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep funding the government at least through Jan. 19. Meanwhile, policymakers are increasingly under pressure to reach a bipartisan deal that would increase the budget caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary spending in order to prevent the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.
Several issues could jeopardize the passage of an Omnibus funding bill that includes funding for the National Institutes of Health. These include reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), funding extensions for certain health programs that received mandatory appropriations through the Affordable Care Act, funding initial construction of a boarder wall, and determining the future of individuals that had been eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Additionally, congressional leadership, as well as the White House, are still negotiating a two-year budget agreement that would cover the rest of the 2018 fiscal year, as well as fiscal year 2019. Both parties agree that the spending caps should be raised, but they disagree on the amount. Democrats are insisting on matching any increase in the defense budget is matched dollar-for-dollar with non-defense increases, which Republicans reject. Without a budget deal that raises the caps, Congress cannot pass spending bills that have already passed in committee without triggering automatic across-the-board spending cuts mandated under a 2011 deficit-cutting law.
Despite a lack of progress, there continues to be strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for the NIH. Leaders and like Tom Cole (R-OK), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, have expressed optimism that Congress will, in the end, be able to provide a robust increase for the NIH in a final FY 2018 spending bill.
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AACR Leadership Meets with NCI Director
On Thursday, Dec. 21, AACR President Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, AACR President-elect Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, and AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (h.c.) met with NCI Director Norman "Ned" Sharpless, MD, and a few members of his staff in his National Cancer Institute (NCI) office on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus as a part of Dr. Sharpless’ listening tour with various NCI stakeholders.
The meeting was extremely positive. Dr. Caligiuri opened the meeting, stating that the AACR was looking forward to learning from Dr. Sharpless how to best provide help and assistance to the NCI over the coming years. The AACR leadership thanked Dr. Sharpless and the NCI for the particular support it receives, such as funding for the
AACR Cancer Health Disparities Conference and the
AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop. In addition, Drs. Caligiuri, Jaffee, and Foti expressed appreciation to Dr. Sharpless for accepting their invitation to speak at the
AACR Annual Meeting in April in Chicago.
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Join Fellows of the AACR Academy and Nobel Prize Laureates in Sending a Letter to Congress
Last month, the AACR delivered
a letter to congressional leaders from distinguished AACR current and past presidents and
Fellows of the AACR Academy, including 18 Nobel Laureates, calling on leaders in the House and Senate to “move quickly to finalize a multi-year, bipartisan budget agreement that raises the caps on non-defense discretionary spending in FY 2018 imposed by the Budget Control Act.”
Lifting the caps is necessary for Congress to provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with $36.1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2018, a $2 billion increase over FY 2017 that was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee but has not yet passed the full Senate.
Today you can make an impact on the future of cancer research by joining current AACR president and past presidents, as well as Fellows of the AACR Academy that include 18 Nobel Laureates, to urge leaders in the House and Senate to invest in biomedical research.
Please take a moment today to
also contact Congress and urge them to move quickly toward finalizing a multi-year, bipartisan budget agreement that raises the caps on non-defense discretionary spending in FY 2018 imposed by the Budget Control Act.
As budget negotiations are at a critical point, now is the time to make our voices heard with our senators and representatives, and to let them know that robust, sustained, and predictable funding increases for the NIH and the National Cancer Institute remain essential for further progress.
The links below provide you with a simple, customizable letter and a call script for you to use in your outreach. Thank you for taking the time to show Congress that we are united in our support for the vital NIH and NCI funding increases that are needed to improve our nation’s health and save more lives from cancer.
Send an Email.
Make a Phone Call.