Budget Update

This week Congress approved their budget resolutions by a 52-46 vote in the Senate and a 219-208 vote in the House. The budget resolutions essentially are a blueprint laying out Congressional priorities for the next year. The House and Senate will now develop a compromise agreement or conference report in the upcoming weeks. Unfortunately, both bills keep in place the sequester level caps on non-defense discretionary spending. Non-defense discretionary spending funds important components of the federal government including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). By adhering to the austere spending caps it will be virtually impossible for Congress to provide meaningful increases in funding for NIH in the upcoming fiscal year.

There may be a small glimmer of hope however, according to CQHealthbeat, “Some in the GOP see the House and Senate budgets as an opening bid in a likely negotiation with the White House later this year. Such talks would look for broader changes in the spending caps that many lawmakers argue should be raised both for defense and domestic programs.” AADR will continue to advocate on behalf of our members urging Congress to undo sequestration, raise the caps on non-defense discretionary spending and reinvest in biomedical research.

What is next? After Congress votes on the budget resolution conference report, the appropriations committees receive their funding allocations and will begin their work drafting appropriations bills. Historically, Congress will release the text of those bills in early summer.

Posted in federal budget, FY16 Appropriations, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Children’s Health Insurance Program Update

Yesterday, in an unusual display of bipartisanship the House approved the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (H.R.2) by a 392-37 vote. This legislation repeals automatic cuts to Medicare payments for doctors and proposes to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program for two years. The legislation is now headed for the Senate for consideration. AADR recently joined over 1,500 organizations in support of extending the CHIP program so that children would not lose access to comprehensive medical and dental coverage. We will continue to monitor this bill as it moves forward in the legislative process.

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Gert Quigley Fellowship Application Deadline Extended

AADR has extended the deadline for applications for the Gert Quigley Government Affairs Fellowship. Applications are due now due on April 10, 2015.

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 D.M.D./D.D.S., Ph.D. or a dual degree student.

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

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AADR Issues Statement about House FY16 Budget Resolution

House FY16 Budget Resolution: Bad for Biomedical Research, Unhealthy for Americans

The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is deeply disappointed with the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Budget Resolution adopted today by the House Budget Committee. By adhering to austere spending caps in the short term, this spending blueprint will further slow progress on improving the health and well-being of all Americans as well as effectively stifle any opportunities to develop personalized medicine approaches to improve dental, oral and craniofacial health, reduce oral health inequalities, or ensure a robust and diverse pipeline of dental, oral, and craniofacial researchers.

By cutting nondefense discretionary spending an additional $759 billion from FY2017 through FY2025, this budget plan all but assures that the US will continue to lose ground as the world leader in research and development, that its economic growth will be hampered and that American families will lose their best hope for treating and curing debilitating diseases.

Non-defense discretionary spending funds important components of the federal government, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Many members of Congress have voiced their support for biomedical research, but unless Congress provides a sufficient and reliable investment for NIH, American’s health will suffer.

Over the past several years, funding for NIDCR has dropped 25 percent when adjusted for inflation. This decline in purchasing power is especially troubling because past achievements in oral health during the last half century are in large part the fruits of research supported by NIDCR. Any hope of restoring that momentum would be lost under this budget resolution.

“We hope lawmakers will reject this resolution and work together to develop a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not rely on additional cuts to non-defense discretionary programs,” said AADR President Paul Krebsbach from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Posted in FY16 Appropriations, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, sequestration | Leave a comment

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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