Academy Continues to Push Congress on NIH and STOP Stroke Act

August 25, 2008

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As legislators return to Washington DC for the month of September, the Academy continues to push Congress to address several issues important to our members. Below are updates on increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the STOP Stroke Act.

NIH

In July, Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and ranking member Arlen Specter (R-PA) announced a plan to introduce a supplemental bill that would add $5.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health. The amount, said Harkin, will "restore the purchasing power of NIH lost to inflation." He added that the new funding would be split so that $1.2 billion would go to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), "in line with the NCI's professional judgment."

According to Specter, who recently finished cancer treatment, the diminished funding in recent years is "scandalous." He went on to insist that more could be done to cure serious diseases, particularly cancer. A Specter spokeswoman said the measure would include $1.2 billion for the NCI and $4 billion for other institutes. She said the two senators had consulted with NIH before determining how much extra funding would be requested.

The Academy continues to call for any supplemental bill passed by the Congress in September to include an increase in funding for the NIH.

Stop Stroke

The STOP Stroke Act was another bill introduced for legislative consideration in July. Included as part of the Advancing America’s Priorities Act (S. 3297), the STOP Stroke Act was left hanging after the Senate failed to invoke cloture that would end debate. The bill is now unlikely to be reconsidered in the 110th Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated a willingness to bring the bill up again before Congress adjourns in late September. The Academy will be working with advocacy partners, including the American Heart Association, to have the STOP Stroke Act included in any legislation that moves forward.

For more information, please contact Mike Amery at mamery@aan.com or at (202) 349–4299.