Congress Preparing for August Recess Constituent Outreach Activities

Interested in planning a campus visit for your Congressional delegation? Email jnurse@aadronline.org for more information.

Beginning August 5th and lasting through September 6th, Members of Congress and many of their staff will work from home -in a sense. The month-long Congressional recess, or District Work Period as some prefer, gives Members of Congress a prolonged opportunity to engage their constituents. Many take the opportunity to hold town-hall forums, visit federally supported project sites (i.e. research facilities), and attend community events. We’ve heard that Members of Congress are preparing to be particularly visible this August, given the impending start of the mid-term election season and need to explain the legislative paralysis in DC. Today, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, reported that the House leadership has developed a planning kit for August that outlines suggested constituent outreach activities for its caucus. The document includes such items as a college campus visit, hospital or health care facility tour, and an “Emergency Health Care Town Hall.”

The AADR Advocate in Your State webpage offers guidance for planning and engaging in local outreach activities. Of particular note is the need to invite Congressional offices to receive a short briefing on federally-supported research taking place at your institution and to tour related facilites. For additional information, contact AADR Government Affairs at (703) 299-8098 or jnurse@aadronline.org.

NIDCR Seeks Your Input on Next Strategic Plan

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research is continuing on in the process of developing its next strategic plan, which will cover 2014-19. Many in the oral health research community have already participated in listening sessions regarding the plan. NIDCR is now accepting input through a formal public comment period, which will close on September 6th. AADR members are encouraged to provide input directly through the NIDCR online portal, as well as to share thoughts with AADR for use in a submission on behalf of the organization. Individuals can email thoughts for the AADR statement on the NIDCR strategic plan to jnurse@aadronline.org by August 15th.

The strategic plan development process offers individuals and organizations an opportunity to impact the future direction of the NIDCR. In a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter announcing the request for input, NIDCR Director Dr. Martha Somerman states that: “This undertaking is important to us and provides us with an opportunity to review our research portfolio and programs to be certain they will remain relevant and productive over the next six years. In addition, it allows us to take stock of broad scientific trends, identify opportunities for new research directions, and ensure that our training and career development pipeline is optimized to advance the NIDCR mission and the field of dental, oral, and craniofacial research.” Continue reading

Senate Subcommittee Pushes $31B for NIH in FY14

Sen. Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the panel, described the bill as making critical investments in education and health

Yesterday, the Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations approved a FY14 spending bill that includes $30.955 billion for the National Institutes of Health. The figure would put the NIH budget 1% above its pre-sequester (FY12) level. The allocation includes $40 million that President Obama requested for the BRAIN initiative. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research is provided $409.9 million in the bill, which would represent level funding with FY13 -if not for the 5% reduction this year due to the sequester. Despite this encouraging step, NIH and most of the other discretionary items in the federal budget will be under considerable threat during the remainder of the FY14 appropriations process. The Senate Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations was able to provide NIH and other line-items a boost largely because it is operating with considerably higher top-line budget number, as compared with its House counterpart. The Senate Appropriations Chair, Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), advanced top-line budget numbers for the various appropriations subcommittees/bills that assume a replacement to sequestration will be adopted. To say that is a big assumption would be a considerable understatement. Republicans in the Senate have pledged to block floor consideration of any of the FY14 appropriations bills, as they violate current spending caps that sequestration is helping to achieve. Continue reading

Five Minutes for the AADR Advocate in Your State Initiative

Three out of four AADR members (2012 Membership Survey) believe that advocacy is necessary for research. Join AADR’s advocacy efforts at the grassroots level by participating in Advocate in Your State, taking place throughout August. Some activities can be completed now!

AADR Advocate in Your State Webpage

Why should I participate?
This August, Members of Congress will return home to engage their constituents during a five-week recess. AADR is urging its members to participate in its Advocate in Your State program.

The National Institutes of Health is currently slated to lose $19 billion over the 10-year period covered by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which brought the nation the policy now commonly known as sequestration. Similar losses will be experienced within other federal science agencies. The reductions will be felt on the campuses of research institutions around the nation and ultimately by the general public.

How can I help?
Advocacy for dental and craniofacial research can be done effectively without ever setting foot in Washington, DC. Help us to personalize the case for sustained federal investments in research.

A wide range of advocacy options are available to you, some requiring only 5 minutes. You can send an email, make a call, visit the local offices of your Members of Congress, invite Congressional staffers to campus to see your work, attend a town hall, write an op-ed, or send us your story on the impact that the sequester is having on your work or in your community. The AADR Advocate In Your State webpage provides the resources that you will need.

Contact Jonathan Nurse, AADR Director of Government Affairs, with any questions at (703)-299-8098 or jnurse@aadronline.org.