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Our personal stories make us strong. But together, our voices are unstoppable. Along with over 100 other medical research and advocacy organizations, the Kidney Cancer Association co-signed the letter below and sent it to the US House and Senate leadership offices.

In it, we asked that leadership complete negotiations on the 2020 Defense Appropriations Act and move it through both House and Senate approval. The defense budget outlined in this Act includes details about funding for the Cogressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense. If the Act doesn’t get enacted, these programs would receive no funding in fiscal year 2020.

Why is this important?

Kidney cancer is one of a few diseases to have a dedicated research program within the CDMRP – the Kidney Cancer Research Program. This program funds research in kidney cancer that tends to be more novel and less proven than the NIH would typically fund, for example. But the idea is to encourage dramatic innovation in the hope that the scientific advancements will be likewise greater – the kind of advances that could change how kidney cancer is treated or bring us closer to finding a cure.

Without timely consensus on a defense budget, funding for these research programs would be delayed and so would the research.

We’re grateful the 2020 Defense Appropriations Act contains many robust provisions for funding medical research from both the House and the Senate! If you’d like to support continued federally funded medical research, please consider contacting your Congresspeople and your Senators, sharing this letter with them, and urging them to work with their colleagues to pass the 2020 Defense Appropriations Act!

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Read the full letter:

December 2019

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                     The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Speaker of the House                                Majority Leader, U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515                              Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy               The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Minority Leader                                        Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives                  U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515                             Washington, DC 20510

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Leader Schumer:

The undersigned organizations urge you to complete final negotiations on the fiscal year 2020 Defense Appropriations Act and move the bill expeditiously through the House and Senate toward enactment.  Any further delay in completing the fiscal year 2020 defense budget, or subjecting the defense budget to a long-term continuing resolution, will inflict irreversible damage on the Defense Health Research Programs, including the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, at the Department of Defense (DoD).

We are particularly concerned about the possibility of Congress enacting a long-term continuing resolution in lieu of a fiscal year 2020 Defense Appropriations Act.  We have been informed by the Department of the Defense that, under this scenario, the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs would receive no funding in fiscal year 2020.  Failure to enact a final bill will have major negative health implications for the millions of Americans – especially veterans – suffering from chronic and debilitating disorders.  This will delay important new discoveries and translation of medical innovation into new treatments and cures for many disorders.

We collectively represent millions of American veterans, military retirees, military families, and civilians who benefit from the ongoing research funded by the Defense Health Research Programs at DoD.  We have worked tirelessly to advocate for continued funding for the programs, and we were pleased to see that both the House and Senate versions of the fiscal year 2020 Defense Appropriations Act include strong funding levels for medical research.

The Defense Health Research Programs will be unable to fully prepare for the fiscal year 2020 grant solicitation process until they receive a fully-enacted fiscal year 2020 budget.  The CDMRP annually receives more than 12,000 pre-applications and 7,000 full applications for grants, and undergoes a rigorous process to evaluate and fund the best of these applications.  Further delay in enacting the FY20 budget will create unnecessary instability and uncertainty in the grant solicitation, grant review, and grant making processes at DoD.  This will also delay the ability of DoD to most effectively convene programmatic panels to identify and implement programmatic changes, effectively convene peer-review panels to provide thorough review of grant applications, and conduct appropriate negotiations to ultimately award FY20 grants. Further, failure to enact a fully-funded fiscal year 2020 budget will compromise the ability of scientific laboratories across the U.S to effectively plan and prepare the highest quality grant applications, potentially diminishing opportunities to maintain discovery-based research programs.

We are also very encouraged to see that House and Senate negotiators have agreed to 302(b) allocations for each of the twelve appropriations bills, and we understand that formal conference negotiations may now proceed.  Continued delay in enacting these bills, including the fiscal year 2020 Defense Appropriations Act, increases the risk that the defense budget will be subjected to a year-long continuing resolution, which could result in no grants awarded during the entire duration of the fiscal year. Aside from the obvious biomedical and economic consequences of such actions, such as stalling or eliminating the critical development of new and more effective therapies that lower costs and save lives, failure to enact will interrupt important pipelines that have allowed investigators at U.S. medical research institutions to build careers and act on new and innovative medical research ideas.

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have worked hard to make important policy and funding decisions for the defense health programs included in their respective versions of the FY20 Defense Appropriations Act.  However, these efforts, and those made by the American research community to prepare for new research opportunities, will be wasted if Congress does not complete its work.  We therefore urge you to work together in a bipartisan, bicameral spirit and complete the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process.

Sincerely,

Action to Cure Kidney Cancer

ALS Association

American Academy of Neurology

American Academy of Ophthalmology

American Association for Cancer Research

American Association for Dental Research

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA)

American Brain Tumor Association

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

American College of Rheumatology

American Diabetes Association

American Gastroenterological Association

American Psychological Association

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene

American Thoracic Society

American Urological Association

Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation

APS Foundation of America, Inc.

Arthritis Foundation

Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

ASME

Association of American Cancer Institutes

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

Beyond Celiac

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network

Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

Cancer ABCs

Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation

Children’s Tumor Foundation

Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE)

Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR)

CureHHT

Deadliest Cancers Coalition

Debbie’s Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer

Debra of America

Dysautonomia International

ECAN Esophageal Cancer Action Network

Epilepsy Foundation

Fibrous Dysplasia Foundation

FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered

Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy

Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne

George Mason University

Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Global Health Technologies Coalition

GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer

Hepatitis B Foundation

HIV Medicine Association

Hydrocephalus Association

Infectious Diseases Society of America

International Myeloma Foundation

International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation

KidneyCAN

Kidney Cancer Association

Littlest Tumor Foundation

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

LUNGevity Foundation

Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.

Lupus Foundation of America

Malaria No More

Melanoma Research Foundation

Men’s Health Network

Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Muscular Dystrophy Association

National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research

National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions (“The Prostate Cancer Alliance”)

National Autism Association

National Brain Tumor Society

National Fragile X Foundation

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Neurofibromatosis Midwest

Neurofibromatosis Network

Neurofibromatosis Northeast

Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy

PKD Foundation

The Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium

Prostate Cancer Foundation

Prostate Health Education Network, Inc.

Research!America

SHEPHERD Foundation

Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation

Society for Neuroscience

Society of Gynecologic Oncology

St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Stony Brook University

Susan G. Komen

Texas NF Foundation

Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance

UCLA

University of Central Florida

University of Iowa

Us TOO Prostate Cancer Education & Support

Veterans for Common Sense

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)

Wayne State University

Weill Cornell Medicine

ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer

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