Congress Approves Short-Term Funding Bill Averting Govt. Shutdown

Yesterday, Congress approved a short term continuing resolution (CR) averting a government shutdown and funding the federal government through December 9, 2016 at 0.5% funding level lower than fiscal year 2016. Importantly, the CR also includes $1.1 billion supplemental funding to combat the Zika virus. Included in the $1.1 billion for Zika is $397 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support advanced research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.The Senate voted 72-26 and the House voted 342-85 in support of this legislation.

What is next? When Congress returns from the November elections a lot of unfinished business awaits them during the lame duck session. Congress must approve an appropriations bill that funds the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year after the current CR expires on December 9th. AADR is strongly urging Congress to adopt an appropriations bill that provides increased funding for NIH and NIDCR.

How can you help? Please take a moment and send an email to your member of Congress stressing the importance of approving an omnibus appropriations bill by clicking here to access our action alert.

FNIDCR Sign on Letter Demonstrates Robust Support for NIDCR Funding

Last week, the Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (FNIDCR) sent a letter signed by 46 organizations, patient advocates and dental schools urging Congress to provide $430.5 million for NIDCR in the final fiscal year 2017 appropriation bill. The organizations noted that putting appropriations on autopilot via a long term continuing resolution beyond December 9th will slow down progress to finding cures for many diseases that plague our nation.  This letter was also distributed by the AADR Government Affairs Committee and FNIDCR transition team during their in person meetings with members of Congress on September 26th.

 

Dental Community Urges Congress to Support Funding for Oral Health Programs

This month, 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 $430.5 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in the final appropriation bill for fiscal year 2017. These organizations also noted the significant and detrimental impact a six month or year long continuing resolution would have on these programs and the populations they serve. ADA, AAPD, ADEA and AADR therefore urged Congress to approve an omnibus appropriation bill after the election.

Budget Update

This week Congress approved their budget resolutions by a 52-46 vote in the Senate and a 228-199 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.

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.

AADR Supports the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act

Today, the American Association for Dental Research sent a letter in support of the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act (S. 2658).  Sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, this legislation creates a mechanism by which predictable, increased and sustainable funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) may be possible. AADR applauds this bill as an innovative approach to address the declining purchasing power of NIH and to prevent the further erosion of promising research.

However, since the funding levels dictated are still too low for other agencies and oral health programs AADR also strongly urges Congress to develop a long-term and permanent solution to replace sequestration for all non-defense discretionary spending.

AADR stands ready to work with the broader scientific community and Sen. Harkin to enact this legislation in the upcoming months.

 

Senate Includes Dental Caries Report Language

Today, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee released the report accompanying the FY15 Senate LHHS Bill. The subcommittee proposes funding levels of $30.5 billion for NIH and $402.4 million for NIDCR. Additionally, on page 97 the subcommittee included report language about dental caries.

Dental Caries.—The Committee recognizes that dental caries remain the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, resulting in a significant economic and health burden to the American people. Although caries has significantly decreased for most Americans over the past 4 decades, disparities remain among some population groups and this downward trend has recently reversed for young children. The Committee is concerned about conflicting information in the media regarding the benefits of community fluoridation and urges NIDCR to enhance efforts to communicate sound science related to dental caries and their prevention.”

At this time it is unclear when or if the full Senate Appropriations Committee will consider this legislation due to the continued contentious political climate. According to media reports Congress will most likely approve a short term continuing resolution funding the federal government at fiscal year 2014 levels through the November elections.

AADR will provide a more detailed analysis of the Senate LHHS bill and report during the next week. If you have any questions please contact Carolyn Mullen cmullen@aadr.org

 

NIDCR Strategic Plan Released

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) released its 2014-2019 Strategic Plan. According to a dear colleague letter sent by NIDCR director Dr. Martha Somerman, D.D.S., Ph.D.:

“In charting the course for the next six years, my NIDCR colleagues and I have worked closely with our stakeholders to carefully consider the Institute’s strengths, opportunities, and resources to derive a plan for how we can best map these to the oral health needs of the nation. The 2014 – 2019 NIDCR Strategic Plan is built on four key goals: support the best science to improve dental, oral, and craniofacial health; enable precise and personalized oral health care through research; apply rigorous, multidisciplinary research approaches to overcome disparities and inequalities in dental, oral, and craniofacial health; and ensure that a strong research workforce is dedicated to improving dental, oral, and craniofacial health.”

IADR/AADR applaud the efforts of NIDCR for the development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan. We look forward to working with NIDCR to implement the goals and objectives outlined in this document.

 

 

More Budget Cuts? It’s Possible. Advocate Today!

Last year Congress implemented devastating budget cuts known as sequestration and shutdown the federal government. This year, despite the efforts of our community, the appropriations process has stalled and increased funding for dental, oral and craniofacial research may not happen.

What can you do?
This August, members of Congress will be working in your state and community. You can invite a member of Congress to tour your research facility or schedule a district office meeting. During these interactions it is imperative that members of Congress know that federal budget cuts have consequences and increased funding for dental, oral and craniofacial research is necessary.

Why?
Members of Congress listen and care deeply about the opinions of their constituents. While AADR works on your behalf in Washington, DC, local advocacy is extremely important to amplify our message here and for you to build a relationship with members of Congress.

Interested?
To participate in the AADR August advocacy activities, please contact Carolyn Mullen at cmullen@aadr.org to learn more.

 

Senate Proposes Increased Funding for NIH and NIDCR

Earlier this week, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee voted to move its version of the fiscal year (FY)15 LHHS Appropriations bill forward to the full Appropriations committee. According to the summary and accompanying charts released by the subcommittee this legislation proposes $30.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $402.4 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). The proposed funding level for NIDCR is an approximate $5.8 million increase from the FY14 and $5.3 million over the President’s FY15 budget request.

Unfortunately, at this time it is unclear when or if the full Senate Appropriations committee will consider this legislation due to the continued contentious political climate. As a result, the legislative text and accompanying report language have not been released. Additionally, the House of Representatives LHHS Subcommittee has not set a date for consideration of their version of the FY15 LHHS bill.

In the upcoming weeks and months, AADR will continue advocate on behalf of dental, oral and craniofacial research to ensure increased funding is secured in the final FY15 Appropriation bill.