If you thought that the contentious debt ceiling vote in the first week of August would be the last of the budget battle in Congress, you would be mistaken. Members of Congress left Washington after the vote for August recess, but when Congress returns in September they will begin yet another battle, this time over FY2012 appropriations. The federal government’s fiscal year ends Sept. 30, after which new appropriations bills or a continuing resolution will be needed to fund federal programs.
With only a few short weeks between now and the appropriations debate, we anxiously await word on the funding of some of our most crucial programs. It is with high hopes (and many letters and phone calls to our Representatives!) that we fight for funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
One in 20 Americans is a cancer survivor, and more than 1.5 million Americans will receive a cancer diagnosis this year. But those dramatic numbers understate the impact of cancer, as all American families are touched by cancer directly or through family, friends, and co-workers.
Research is the key to a deeper understanding of cancer and development of better treatments and a longer, happier, and more productive life with cancer. A sustained and consistent federal commitment to NIH and NCI is critical to research progress. It is also important to note the importance of NIH funding to our nation’s economy. The NIH budget supports medical research in every state. In turn, these research dollars support local jobs and economic development.
It is also essential to maintain funding and support cancer prevention and control programs at the CDC. Collectively, the CDC cancer programs, like the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and the Colorectal Cancer Control Program, are the cornerstone of our country’s cancer prevention efforts. Cuts to CDC prevention programs will hinder the progress made during the past few years in reducing both cancer incidence and mortality. We will continue calling and writing to our Congressional Representatives, asking that they not cut funding for cancer programs that have a proven record of success for early detection, prevention, education, and awareness.
In addition to important budget issues, we hope that Congress will consider new legislation such as the Life Sciences Jobs and Investment Act. Prevent Cancer Foundation was pleased to join Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Representatives Chaka Fattah (D-2nd/PA), Patrick Meehan (R-7th/PA) and Allyson Schwartz (D-13th/PA) on July 25 at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia to announce this bill. If passed, the bill provides targeted incentives to businesses and innovators by doubling a portion of the tax credit for life sciences research and development, incentivizing life sciences research with a particular focus on small and mid-size entrepreneurs engaged in the research, as well as through non-for-profit research consortia, research incubators, and universities. The bill also encourages repatriation of jobs to the United States through financial incentives.
There are many agenda items to keep an eye on this fall and we look forward to our continued work as advocates for cancer prevention! If you would like to learn more about Prevent Cancer’s advocacy efforts or become an advocate yourself, visit www.preventcancer.org to join our Advocacy Action Center.