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Advocacy Update – August 2014

AdvocacyUpdate

Advocates,

July was our second-busiest month so far this year. March is hard to beat on the busy scale! With the August recess now upon us, we worked hard both on and off the Hill this July to let elected officials know how important it is that they support our legislative goals. Although everyone takes a break from the Hill in August, things won’t be slowing down for us!


GET LOUD, GET LOCAL! THE AUGUST RECESS CHALLENGE

recess-challenge-colon-cancer-advocacyWe’re challenging our advocates to have 31 congressional meetings in 31 days! Each year in August, your elected officials pack their DC bags and head home to their districts. This is the perfect opportunity to talk to your representatives about H.R. 1070 and your senators about S. 2348! Meeting with your members of Congress is easier than you think!

Download the Advocacy Handbook has tips for preparing for your meeting and information about what to do and say during and after your meeting. For more information about the August Recess Challenge, click here.


ADVOCATE SPOTLIGHT: PATTI HOLLENBACK

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Advocate Patti (left) and Advocacy Manager Emily White

Our Advocate Spotlight for July is Grassroots Action Committee (GAC) member Patti Hollenback from Pennsylvania. She is a six-time Call-on Congress attendee and served as a caregiver for her late husband from 2003-2006. She not only attended the 80% by 2018 Stakeholder Meeting in D.C. on July 16, she also volunteered at our Pitch for Prevention event in Minneapolis, MN July 20-23.

Thank you so much, Patti for your dedication to our cause!


FIGHT CRC STAFF MEMBERS TAKE ON D.C.

Did you miss the news? We had FIVE of our staff members together at once in D.C.…that’s not an easy task for an organization that has staff members in each time zone. Read the highlights from our trip:

-Advocacy in July – The Momentum Continues

-Creating a Vision – A Current of Hope


MARIA WILLIAMS REPRESENTS FIGHT CRC AT OVAC GRASSROOTS LOBBY DAY

Grassroots Action Committee (GAC) member Maria Williams represented Fight CRC at One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC)’s annual grassroots lobby day on July 7-8. She did a great job representing our cause on the Hill! Read all about her trip here.


MAKING WAVES IN POLICY – NEW COSPONSORS FOR H.R. 1070

Advocate Jovannie Lorenzo (left), Congressmen Donald Payne Jr. & Anjee Davis

Advocate Jovannie Lorenzo (left), Congressmen Donald Payne Jr. & Anjee Davis

Our advocates deserve a huge pat on the back for their efforts this month! We have 14 new co-sponsors for H.R. 1070, and while we credit some success to our July 16 lobby day, our advocates have set the foundation from previous congressional meetings and continued follow-ups. With the addition of these new (bi-partisan!) co-sponsors, H.R. 1070 now has the support of 90 representatives.

Help us reach the goal of 100 co-sponsors by Labor Day by participating in the August Recess Challenge!

New co-sponsors:

      • Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA)
      • Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
      • Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA)
      • Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)
      • Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL)
      • Rep. David Loebasck (D-IA)
      • Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ)
      • Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA)
      • Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)
      • Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA)
      • Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA)
      • Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ)
      • Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)
      • Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)

APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE – THINGS LOOK GOOD FOR CANCER RESEARCH!

advocates-congress-80by2018There was no new legislative action on the House or Senate Labor, Health and Human Services (Labor/HHS) and Education spending bills. However, on July 24, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its “wish list” bill with specific appropriation numbers. Fight Colorectal Cancer asked for $32 billion for National Institutes of Health (NIH), including 5.26 for the National Cancer Institute (NCI); although the “wish list” numbers were a bit lower, they are definitely competitive and show increases from FY 2014.

For the NIH, the Senate proposed legislation including $30.5 billion, which is $605 million above the FY14 level. In addition, this increase makes up the entire amount reduced by sequestration in FY2014.

The bill also includes $5 billion for the NCI. Within the Center for Disease Control (CDC), $43.3 million is allocated to the Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP), which received $42 million in FY14.

It is unlikely that this Labor/HHS bill will be voted on in committee or even in the Senate as a freestanding bill.  Instead, it is likely that the Labor/HHS funding items will be included in a continuing resolution (CR*), which is yet to be drafted. This will occur sometime before the end of September, which is the end of the fiscal year.

*A CR is a type of appropriations legislation that is passed when the Congress and the president fail to agree on and pass the regular appropriations bills. The CR extends funding from the previous fiscal year (FY 2014) until a specific date or until the bills get passed—whichever comes first.


QUALITY OF CARE MATTERS—ESPECIALLY FOR OUR VETERANS!

Donnie Arison_by Alistair (2)Last month we posted about issues with timely treatment and quality of care within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We care deeply about this issue, as it is important that we take care of those who have sacrificed so much for our country.

This month, we have good news to share—the Senate and House reached an agreement on fixing the VA health care system and passed a bill by a vote of 91-3. The bill is now on the President’s desk pending his signature.

You can read an entire article about the deal here, but essentially, the $17 billion would be allotted to the VA in order to “help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives.”

Here is a breakdown of how the $17 billion will be spent:

  • $10 billion – for emergency spending to help veterans obtain care outside of the VA if they cannot get prompt appointments with VA doctors
  • $5 billion – for hiring doctors, nurses and other medical staff
  • $1.5 billion – for leasing 27 new clinics across the country

 “The bill also would expand a scholarship program for veterans, allow all veterans to qualify for in-state college tuition and grant the VA secretary authority to immediately fire senior executives, while providing employees with streamlined appeal rights.”


HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE: 21ST CENTURY CURES – THE RISE OF PERSONALIZED MEDICINE

80by2018-stakeholders-meetingThe House Energy and Commerce Committee continued the “21st Century Cures” initiative on July 23, 2014.  In a unique roundtable format, congressional members and invited participants joined together to discuss how the rise of personalized medicine and advances in science and technology can shape the health care system in the 21st century.

Specifically, the roundtable discussed how genomic sequencing and diagnostic testing, as well as the regulation of these continually evolving areas, affects innovative product development and delivery.

Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) led the meeting and shared his prospective on the importance of personalized medicine.

“Thanks to the incredible advances made over the past several decades, cures and treatments today can be developed at the molecular level, giving patients treatments tailored specifically to their genetic makeup,” commented Rep. Upton and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO).

“21st Century Cures is about spurring innovation to advance a system of personalized medicine so that patients can get the right treatment at the right time for their unique health care needs.”

20140716_102943Participants presented an exciting picture of the research breakthroughs on the horizon in personalized medicine.

Of interest, FDA participant Dr. Moscisci, talked about FDA’s role in developing new drugs and diagnostic tools that are tailored to individual genomes.  In addition, Dr. Louis DeGennaro from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society discussed the history of the treatment of leukemia into a more “individualized,” treatable disease. However, Dr. Patrick O’Gara, Director Clinical Cardiology of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, stated that cardiac gene identification for individual treatment of cardiovascular disease is light years behind oncology.

The roundtable also discussed the barriers to innovation. Clinicians/providers will need to be more educated on how to use this new information and to participate in providing the research. Participants also agreed that clinical trials need improved. Most clinical trials are too slow and have too few participants. More pure scientific research is needed and better use and sharing of research data. We are very good at collecting data but need more efforts to analyze this data and obtaining the right data.

For more information, click here.


SENATOR HARKIN INTRODUCES RESEARCH ACT

On July 24, 2014, Senator Harkin introduced the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act (S. 2658) which would empower congress to increase the NIH budget to $46.2 billion by 2021, without reducing other federal spending. This is equivalent to the budget NIH would have reached if, beginning in 2004, annual funding changes were indexed to biomedical inflation. If passed, this could be a HUGE win for our legislative goals.

Join us in thanking Sen. Harkin for supporting research! 


 That’s all for this month! Stay tuned to for the results from the August Recess Challenge and join our Advocacy Facebook group to stay updated all month long.

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