Gear up for Call-on Congress 2023


Advocacy Blog
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Welcome to Advocacy in Action, our monthly blog where our Advocacy Team discusses what’s new in the advocacy world: from important policy updates to ways to get involved, and behind-the-scenes views on how we make change happen. In December, we discussed all things Call-on Congress. If you haven’t registered, don't delay! Registration closes out February 15, 2023, and room blocks expire February 7, 2023.

We have had so many advocacy wins in 2022, and we’re excited to increase that momentum as we gear up for Call-on Congress 2023. This month we are talking about our asks for Call-on Congress 2023, and how we are building from what we've accomplished last year in Washington, D.C.

New Year, New Congress

In January, the 118th Congress officially began. A new Congress begins every two years, and it is basically a restart of the legislative process. Any bills that were introduced previously need to be reintroduced, and co-sponsors have to be added again. 

The new Congress also aligns with the election so there are new members of Congress who are coming to Washington, D.C., for the first time. In the 118th Congress, there are 75 brand new members in the House and seven brand new senators.  

That is over 80 new faces and potential champions that we need to introduce ourselves to and educate about colorectal cancer. It is an amazing opportunity and what makes attending Call-on Congress this year so important!

Let Them Know What We Care About at Call-on Congress

In addition to filling in these new members about colorectal cancer, we will also need to educate them about our policy priorities. If you attended Call-on Congress last year, these will look familiar. 

We will again be asking Congress to create a Colorectal Cancer Research Program within the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. Colorectal cancer is the only cancer of the top five cancer killers not to have its own research program at DoD. And with more and more young people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer — including active duty military personnel it is critical that we dedicate more federal funding to colorectal cancer research. 

Another one of Fight CRC’s primary policy priorities is to increase funding for the CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP). The CRCCP works to increase colorectal cancer screening in underserved populations and high need communities, which includes communities of color, rural communities, and the low income and under/uninsured populations. Your advocacy last year helped get a $1 million increase for the CRCCP, and this year we will push for even more! 

We will also ask members of Congress to join the Colorectal Cancer Caucus. The caucus is a bipartisan group of members of Congress dedicated to helping raise awareness about colorectal cancer among policymakers and their staff. Let’s build our Relentless Champions of Hope on Capitol Hill

There is one priority from last year that you won’t see on our list this year: directing the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to prioritize colorectal cancer and develop a strategic action plan. Why not? Because we got it done! You raised your voice and Congress listened! 

Next Steps: What You Can Do!

Whether you are attending Call-on Congress this year or not, a great place to start is by introducing yourself (or reintroducing yourself) to your members of Congress. We’ve made it easy! Click the link below to our “Introduce Yourself” action alert to tell them what it is like to be a member of the colorectal cancer community. Urge them to pay attention. Let them know they must do more. 

If you haven’t already, check out our Fight Colorectal Cancer Advocacy space on Community of Champions. It is a great place to connect with fellow advocates and also get a refresher on policy basics if you want to get involved but don’t know where to start. Our Community of Champions space has all the tools and resources you need to learn how to share your story, how to engage your member of Congress, and how to advocate for meaningful policy change, for your trip to Washington, D.C., March 13 and 14, 2023.

Now is also a great time to check out Fight CRC’s advocacy portal to find fact sheets on our state and federal policy priorities, information on colorectal cancer screening in your state, and read about how other Relentless Champions of Hope have turned their pain into purpose through advocacy.

Advocates across the country are raising our voices to make colorectal cancer a national priority. Your voice matters! We can accomplish so much together!