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National Institutes of Health Funding in Jeopardy

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    Hi All - Monies for research for all our illnesses -- from mental health, Hepatitis, AIDS, physical disabilities to addictions are at risk. We need your Help
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 25, 2003
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      Hi All - Monies for research for all our illnesses -- from mental health, Hepatitis, AIDS, physical disabilities to addictions are at risk. We need your Help as the below information from Oregon's Hepatitis C Outreach Project shows. All of our research funding is at risk -- not just Hepatitis research dollars. We are all in the same boat!
      NIH FUNDING IN JEOPARDY

      CALL/FAX YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE

      The Hepatitis C Outreach Project Urges You to Visit http://www.capwiz.com/networkforgood/dbq/officials/ and

      Take Action In Support of Completing the Doubling of the NIH Budget in FY 2003.

      The annual National Institutes of Health budget will be in jeopardy when Congress returns to Washington, D.C. this week. Congress is under strict orders from the White House to reduce spending on several of the pending fiscal year (FY) 2003 spending bills. The bill that funds the National Institutes of Health -- the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education
      Appropriations bill (bill numbers H.R. 5320 and S. 2766) -- is expected to take a particular hit.
      With this reduction, it is questionable whether Congress will be able to provide the $27.3 billion
      needed to complete the fifth and final year of the bipartisan commitment to double the NIH
      budget by FY 2003.

      A shortfall in funding could negatively impact hepatitis C research.

      The House and Senate Leadership and the Administration have expressed a strong desire to complete the doubling of the NIH budget in the FY 2003 appropriations bill. However, given the spending limits and strong interest in protecting other programs, the NIH funding remains a target. Also, since the proposed budget increases for the NIH in FY 2004 are expected to be very minimal, at best, the chance of completing the doubling in the next appropriations cycle will be even more challenging.

      Hundreds of patient, medical and health groups are joining together this week to have
      a massive call to action to support NIH funding.

      Here is how to find out who your representatives in Congress are and how to reach them: http://www.capwiz.com/networkforgood/dbq/officials/

      â?¢ Urge them to support $27.3 billion in funding for the NIH, which will complete Congressâ?T promise to double the NIH budget by FY 2003;
      â?¢ Ask your Members to urge the Congressional leadership to fulfill this
      commitment to medical research and to finish the FY 2003 appropriations
      process as quickly as possible; and
      â?¢ Explain to them that a shortfall in the NIH could negatively impact the progress
      on hepatitis C research and why this is important to you.

      We also ask that you contact the White House at (202) 456-1111:

      â?¢ Thank the President for his commitment to complete the NIH doubling effort
      this year; and
      â?¢ Urge him to make sure it gets done.

      Draft letters can be found on the website http://www.capitolconnect.com/fundnihnow.

      We sincerely thank you for your help with this critical effort to complete the doubling of the NIH budget this year so that the NIH has adequate funds to continue the many exciting opportunities in hepatitis C research.


      The following article regarding NIH funding appeared in the Wall Street Journal on January 7, 2003.

      POLITICS AND POLICY

      Defense Priorities, Tax Cuts
      Threaten NIH Research Funds

      By CHRIS ADAMS
      Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

      WASHINGTON -- The party might be over for the National Institutes of Health.

      Over the past five years, the biomedical-research facility in nearby Bethesda, Md., has benefited from an extraordinary flow of new money, thanks to bipartisan support from Congress and the White House. If Congress approves President Bush's pending NIH request for the 2003 fiscal year, its budget would be more than $27 billion -- double the 1998 level.

      But now that gusher may be almost tapped out. Some research advocates are worried that Congress, faced with a worsening fiscal outlook, won't be able to meet the $27 billion request. What's more, the White House's 2004 budget -- due to be released next month -- is likely to propose sharp constraints on domestic programs in order to fund its top priorities: defense and homeland-security initiatives and tax cuts. People familiar with the preliminary budget numbers say the NIH, which has enjoyed annual budget increases of 15% during recent years, might only get a tiny raise under the president's 2004 blueprint.

      Such tightening of the purse strings is provoking protests from patient and research advocates. "We find it almost inconceivable that there could be this commitment by the administration and Congress to double the budget and then have these devastating cutbacks," says Myrl Weinberg, president of the National Health Council, which is made up of more than 100 health groups. Her group is among those planning letter-writing campaigns and congressional visits to push for higher spending.

      While acknowledging that future NIH budget increases won't be as fat as those of the recent past, research advocates say funding increases still need to be substantial -- say, 8% to 10% a year -- to capitalize on the progress being made in biomedical research. This week, patient-group representatives will gather at a Virginia conference center to plot a grassroots lobbying campaign to ensure that Congress meets the "doubling" goal this year and approves a sizable funding increase for next year.

      One certain ally: Sen. Arlen Specter, expected to be chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that handles the NIH budget. The Pennsylvania Republican has introduced a resolution to triple the NIH budget from 1998 levels, thus reaching $41 billion, and requiring annual increases of 8.5% over the next several years.

      For almost two years, the Bush administration has been warning that the NIH gravy train can't go on forever. In releasing its budget for the 2002 fiscal year, the administration said that "once the doubling effort is complete, NIH will receive stable, moderate funding increases." The administration also noted that the big infusion of cash had created "management challenges" for the institutes. It highlighted the NIH's bookkeeping, saying its decentralized and non-standard accounting processes resulted in numerous errors" in financial statements.



      Source: Hepatitis C Outreach Project www.hcop.org
      **************************************************************************************************************************
      About HCOP

      Based in Portland, Oregon, the Hepatitis C Outreach Project (HCOP) is the
      nation's oldest non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention,
      awareness, education and treatment of hepatitis C and organ donation.
      HCOP is committed to working with any organization or professional
      individual to develop partnerships resulting in programming and good
      public decision-making based on accurate information regarding hepatitis
      C. Their website can be located at www.hcop.org
      Teresa Hanbey
      Executive Director
      Hepatitis C Outreach Project (since 1992)
      PO Box 248 Vancouver, WA 98666

      Portland, OR
      Los Angeles, CA
      www.hcop.org
      (503) 285-8712
      (503) 737-0214 (fax)










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