Washington summary September 2016

Congress returned from its extended recess on Sept. 6, 2016.

FY17 Appropriations

Congress will not complete work on the bills to fund the NIH and the FDA for fiscal year 2017 (FY17, starting Oct. 1, 2016) until after the November elections. In the meantime, Congress will try to provide interim funding that will keep government agencies in operations after Sept. 30, 2016. The key issue here is whether the interim funding will extend to the end of 2016 or into 2017, when a new Congress and administration will be in office.

Research areas of interest to PKD advocates have not been part of the negotiations on the Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY17. Funding for NIH and FDA most likely will continue at the lower FY16 level until Congress and the administration can agree on spending levels for the remainder of FY17.

Congress may reach an agreement on the CR as early as this week.

PKD Foundation joined 209 other health research stakeholders in signing a letter asking the Senate to hold firmly on its proposal to provide $34 billion for NIH. That figure would be $2 billion above current spending.

21st Century Cures

Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) are the driving forces behind the Senate health innovation package, the Senate version of 21st Century Cures. Each continues to work to resolve differences that prevent Congress from giving final approval to this vital legislation this year.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and prime sponsor of the 21st Century Cures bill (HR 6), is drafting a revised version of the Cures bill. He hopes that the new version will achieve bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Details of the new Upton bill may be released as early as this week.

The PKD Foundation remains a strong supporter of increased health innovation that could accelerate treatments and a cure for PKD. We have supported the guaranteed funding provisions in the 21st Century Cures Act and do not care about the source of these additional funds. We know that, if pressed by their constituents, Congress can find the money.

Continue to make your voice heard

A congressional recess in October and an election on Nov. 8, 2016, provide many opportunities for PKD advocates to make their views known.

For your Senators:

  • Pass a health innovation package with guaranteed funding in 2016.
  • Pass the $2 billion increase in NIH funding and hold firm on the $75 million increase for NIDDKD.

For your Member of Congress:

  • Request public support for and a vote for the Senate NIH funding level.
  • Continue support for HR 6 with guaranteed funding for health innovation programs.  If you representative is one of the 77 who opposed HR 6, find out why.

Senators and Representatives still need to hear from you — their constituents — on both NIH funding and 21st Century Cures. Don’t waste this crucial time!

Learn more about how you can help.