Gert Quigley Government Affairs Fellowship Application Period Open

AADR is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2015-2016 Gert Quigley Government Affairs Fellowship. The Gert Quigley Public Policy Fellowship provides a unique and exciting learning experience both in Washington, DC and through grassroots efforts at the participants local university or institution. This fellowship is designed to familiarize dental school, Ph.D., or dual degree students with the federal legislative process as it relates to basic and translational dental and craniofacial research, as well as research on the oral health care delivery system. The applicant must be a member of the AADR National Student Research Group and a DMD/DDS, Ph.D. or a dual degree student.

Click here for more information about the program and the application process.

Applications are due by March 20, 2015!

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AADR Urges Congress to Eliminate Sequestration and Fiscal Austerity

This week, AADR joined an effort spearheaded by NDD United coalition urging Congress and President Obama to work together to end sequestration. The letter cosigned by 2,100 organizations emphasizes (1) the importance of nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs, (2) the harmful effects of budget cuts to date, and (3) the equal importance of both defense and nondefense programs in America’s security at home and abroad, and thus the need for equal sequestration relief.

AADR carried this message to Capitol Hill this week by joining the Coalition for Health Funding in their lobby day to educate new members of Congress about sequestration, austerity measures and their impact on dental, oral and craniofacial research.

 

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Sequestration 101

This week the Coalition for Health Funding released a fact sheet to educate Congress and the public about sequestration. Importantly, sequestration for fiscal year 2016 will not be implemented via across the board cuts. This year sequestration simply means lowering the funding caps established by the Budget Control Act, which translates into level funding for non-defense discretionary spending.

What does this mean for biomedical research? It will be extremely difficult for Congress to provide any additional funding for agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) unless they lift the spending caps. If Congress does not lift the caps the following scenarios could happen:

  • Additional funding for NIH could potentially come at the expense of other programs.
  • Funding for NIH is level, does not keep pace with inflation and there is no opportunity for growth.
  • Congress could approve a “carve out” or work around legislation to provide additional funding for biomedical research if Congress does not address the overall caps established by the Budget Control Act.

How can we address sequestration? AADR is actively engaged with NDD United and the Coalition for Health Funding urging Congress to eliminate sequestration and the current austerity framework. We continue to meet with members of Congress and share our story about the impact austerity measures has on dental, oral and craniofacial research. It is our hope that through these collective advocacy efforts Congress will build on the momentum of the Ryan-Murray budget agreement from 2013 and roll back sequestration permanently.

What can you do? Register to join AADR and ADEA on April 14, 2015 to meet with members of Congress. Also, if you have a story to share please email the AADR director of government affairs Carolyn Mullen cmullen@aadr.org

 

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Do you know who is making funding decisions? Get to Know the Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees

By Colin McGoodwin, AADR Government Affairs Intern
The newly elected Congress resulted in many changes in the composition of the Senate and House Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittees. These members are in charge of drafting legislation to provide funding for agencies such as the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). If any of the subcommittee members are from your state or district we strongly encourage AADR members to starting building a relationship with these policymakers. The recently released President’s budget proposed a funding increase for NIDCR, but with the current political climate it is up to you to let your representative know that every dollar is needed. Below are the members of the subcommittees:

Senate LHHS Subcommittee Members

Republican
Roy Blunt, Missouri, Chairman
Jerry Moran, Kansas
Richard C. Shelby, Alabama
Thad Cochran, Mississippi
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
Mark Kirk, Illinois
Bill Cassidy, Louisiana
Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia
James Lankford, Oklahoma

Democrat
Patty Murray, Washington, Ranking Member
Richard J. Durbin, Illinois
Jack Reed, Rhode Island
Barbara Mikulski, Maryland
Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire
Jeff Merkley, Oregon
Brian Schatz, Hawaii
Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin

House LHHS Subcommittee Members

Republican
Tom Cole, Oklahoma, Chairman
Mike Simpson, Idaho
Steve Womack, Arkansas
Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee
Andy Harris, MD, Maryland
Martha Roby, Alabama
Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania
Scott Rigell, Virginia

Democrat
Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut, Ranking Member
Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
Barbara Lee, California
Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania

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Appropriations Advocacy Begins

This week, the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) sent  letters to the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittees urging them to provide modest programmatic increases to allow more Americans to have access to better oral health.  The letter included a chart of funding priorities for oral health research and programs, including a request for Congress to provide $425 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in fiscal year 2016.

This marks the beginning of the appropriations advocacy season where members of Congress are eager to learn about organizations’ appropriations priorities. AADR will conduct a series of meetings with members of Congress and their staff during the upcoming weeks in partnership with ADA, ADEA and AAPD to promote our appropriations requests for the upcoming fiscal year.

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President Obama’s FY16 Budget Request

Yesterday, President Obama presented his fiscal year (FY)16 budget request to Congress. The President’s budget hinges on Congress undoing the sequestration caps established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and increasing the amount of discretionary spending available. This is why the President’s budget is able to propose funding increases as opposed to flat funding. The President’s budget proposes to pay for these increased investments by making changes to the tax code and reducing spending in other areas.

Below is a summary of AADR priorities included in the President’s Budget:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH), $31.3 billion, an approximate 3.3% increase over the FY15 level of $30.3 billion
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), $406.7 million, a $9 million or 2.26% increase over FY15 enacted level of $397.7 million.
  • National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, $660.1 million, an approximate $27.4 million or 4.3% increase over the FY15 level of $632.7 million.
  • National Science Foundation, $7.7 billion an approximate $379 million or 5.2% increase over FY15 level of $7.344 billion.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Oral Health, $15.7 million, which is level with FY15.
  • Health Resources and Services Administration Title VII oral health training programs $33.9 million, which is level with FY15.

 

Additionally, President Obama proposed a new multi-agency Precision Medicine Initiative. The FY16 request includes $200 million for NIH to expand current cancer genomics research and to launch a national research cohort of one million individuals.  According to the NIH Summary of the President’s budget, “$70 million is proposed to fund new studies of how a tumor’s DNA can be used to predict and treat tumor cells that develop resistance to a therapy,  apply new non-invasive methods to track response to therapy and explore the efficacy of new combinations of cancer drugs targeted to specific tumor mutations. NIH proposes $130 million to launch a national research cohort of one million or more individuals primarily comprised of those individuals who have already participated in longitudinal clinical research studies and who volunteer to share their genetic information in the context of other health data over time. Genetic and environmental information will be linked to their electronic health records and new wearable technologies will be tested for prevention of illness and/or management of chronic disease.”

The President’s budget is a document that outlines the administration’s funding priorities for the upcoming fiscal year and Congress as the authority to approve, reject or modify the recommendations included in the budget. According to CQHealthbeat, “The administration’s request includes raising the post-sequester discretionary caps, resulting in overall base discretionary spending of $1.091 trillion in fiscal 2016, $75 billion above the $1.016 trillion allowed by the 2011 debt limit law. The defense cap would be raised by $38 billion to $561 billion and the non-defense cap would be increased by $37 billion to $530 billion.” Many members of Congress have already rejected the notion of raising the discretionary caps to provide increased funding for non-defense discretionary spending.

What’s Next? AADR will continue to advocate for Congress to undo the sequestration permanently, lift the spending caps in order to provide increased investments in biomedical research and other oral health programs in the FY16 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriation Bill.

What Can You Do? Register today for our April 14, 2015 Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. We need your help to urge Congress to provide increased investments in biomedical research.

For More Information about the budget

click here to read the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Congressional Justification.

Click here to view the NIH Director’s presentation about the National Institutes of Health FY16 Budget Request.

Questions? Contact AADR director of government affairs Carolyn Mullen cmullen@aadr.org.

 

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Register to Attend the 2015 Advocacy Day!

April 14, 2015
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The need for advocacy on behalf of biomedical research has never been greater. In 2015, a newly elected Congress with fresh priorities will need to better understand the importance of dental, oral and craniofacial research. Your participation in the 2015 Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill cosponsored by AADR and ADEA is necessary to amplify the message to Congress that cutting federal funding is harmful and increased investments in biomedical research and other oral health programs are needed for the health of the public.

The program will include a morning key issues briefing with members of Congress and staff from select federal agencies; and an afternoon of individual and/or small group meetings with participants’ congressional offices.

Registration is easy. Simply click here to register for this event. There is no registration fee to attend.

Please visit www.aadr.org/advocacyday for more information as it becomes available.

Questions may be directed to AADR Director of Government Affairs Carolyn Mullen at cmullen@aadr.org or 1.703.299.8098.

 

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Application Deadline Extended for the Student Advocate of the Year!

This year the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) National Student Research Group (NSRG) along with the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) would like to recognize a student for outstanding contributions in advocacy for oral health research by awarding The Student Advocate of the Year Award. The winner of the award will be announced on February 13, 2015. The recipient will receive travel and a one night hotel accommodation for participation in the date April 14, 2015, 2015 AADR/ADEA Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill program.

To apply, click here and complete the application form and brief essay questions by February 9, 2015.

CRITERIA

Must be a member of the AADR NSRG. (As the current Gert Quigley Fellow is already funded to attend the AADR/ADEA Advocacy Day, they are not eligible for this award.)

Participated in AADR advocacy by completing at least 2 of the following activities within the last calendar year:

  • Responded to an AADR advocacy action alert.
  • Either met in person or contacted (via email, letter or phone) a member of Congress.
  • Participated in an AADR Advocacy Day.

Expressed interest to improve and enhance AADR student advocacy.

 

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Funding Legislation Approved AADR Posted Summary of the Bill

This weekend Congress approved the Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 83) by a 219-206 vote in the House and a 56-40 vote in the Senate. This legislation will provide discretionary funding through September 30, 2015 for almost all federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services. The legislation proposes $30.0 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $150 million increase over fiscal year 2014 and $399.8 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and $1.2 million over the comparable appropriated fiscal year 2014 level of $398.6 million.

The explanatory statement accompanying the bill also contains report language about dental caries.

Dental Caries.-Although dental caries have significantly decreased for most Americans over the past four decades, disparities remain among some population groups. The agreement is concerned with these trends and encourages NIDCR to explore more opportunities related to dental caries research. In addition, NIDCR should coordinate with CDC Division of Oral Health to identify research opportunities.

It is important to note that increases were generally distributed proportionally among NIH Institutes and Centers.  Additional funding amounts were added to the National Institute on Aging in recognition of Alzheimers disease research, BRAIN initiative and the National Cancer Institute and the Common Fund to support the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.

NIH is also required to submit a wide five year strategic plan within one year of enactment of this bill.

AADR Summary: Click here for a more detailed analysis and information about the FY15 Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act.

For more Information: Click here to read the omnibus appropriations bill and here to read the joint explanatory statement.

 

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Government Shutdown Averted, House Narrowly Approves Funding Bill

Late last night the House of Representatives approved the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 83) by a 219-206 vote.  The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. The Senate is expected to debate and vote on the bill during the next couple of days. A final vote could occur on Monday, December 15. As a result, the federal government is currently operating under a short term two day continuing resolution to give Congress more time to consider what has been dubbed as the “CROmnibus” bill.

Yesterday was certainly filled with highs and lows as the House of Representatives considered the legislation. At one point, it appeared that the House did not have the votes to approve the CROmnibus bill and members of Congress were floating the idea of approving short term continuing resolution to fund the federal government at the current levels for a couple of months. AADR remained actively engaged throughout this process and sent an email to policymakers urging them to vote YES on H.R. 83, citing that increased funding included in the bill was, “…critical to support promising dental, oral and craniofacial research and improve the health of all Americans.”

The next steps in this process remain very fluid. A few Senators have indicated they will not vote for the CROmibus due to some controversial provisions related to the regulation of Wall Street and campaign donation limits whereas other Senators remain opposed to President Obama’s executive order on immigration. Despite this opposition, most pundits are optimistic that the Senate will approve H.R. 83.

Please visit the AADR Government Affairs blog for the latest updates.

 

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