CFS News from Capitol Hill
Health appropriations challenges lawmakers
At long last, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2008, a large bill providing funding for most non-defense domestic and foreign programs. Included in this bill was funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, notably the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Congress passed the bill on December 19 and it was signed into law on December 26, nearly three months after the beginning of the fiscal year that it funds. The Act includes an increase of less than 1 percent for the NIH and a 2.8 percent budget increase for the CDC. The previous bill, vetoed by the president in November, included a 3.1 percent budget increase for the NIH and 6.6 percent increase for the CDC. The NIH will receive $760 million less and the CDC will receive $240 million less than in the original bill; this will tighten funding for most programs at both agencies, including CFS research and education efforts supported by NIH and CDC.
As election cycles heat up, it’s important for all health advocates to voice their concern about these funding levels to incumbent members of Congress and candidates for office. Town hall meetings and campaign events offer opportunities to express support for increased health funding–particularly CFS funding–to those with the power to set these funding levels.
Federal advisors meet in D.C.
The CFS Advisory Committee (CFSAC) to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) met on Wednesday, November 28, and Thursday, November 29, in Washington, D.C. This was the Committee’s second meeting with its current membership and its 13th meeting overall. In addition to updates on CFS activities at the CDC, NIH, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Committee heard from representatives of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services. The work performed since the May meeting by three subcommittees was discussed in detail and seven members of the public delivered testimony. Only one recommendation to the secretary of health was passed at the meeting, although others were considered and tabled for further discussion by the subcommittees. The Committee recommended that CDC efforts on CFS be restructured to reflect broader expertise on the multifaceted capabilities required to execute a comprehensive program that incorporates extramural research; longitudinal, intervention and laboratory studies; and expanded education activities.
You can read the Association’s full report on this meeting and past sessions at http://www.cfids.org/advocacy/meeting-updates.asp.
Congressional briefing planned for 2008
The Association is working with members of Congress to host a briefing about CFS this spring. We will work closely with congressional champions to invite a panel of CFS experts to discuss current research highlights and opportunities to shape funding requests and agency directives. The last congressional briefing on CFS was held in 1996.
There will not be a Washington, D.C., Lobby Day in 2008, but we will conduct the fifth annual Virtual Lobby Day, as well as online seminars to sustain our tradition of engaging advocates in grassroots activities. With new leadership in the White House and turnover in Congress, Lobby Day in 2009 will be an especially important event. Stay in touch with us through the Grassroots Action Center listerv.
Enroll today at http://capwiz.com/cfids/mlm/signup/ so you receive advance notice of events and regular updates on issues of interest.
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