68 Organizations Call on Congress to Complete FY17 Defense Budget

By Mark Vieth, Senior Vice President

Yesterday, 68 diverse organizations wrote to House and Senate leadership, calling on Congress to pass the FY2017 Defense Appropriations Act and fully fund the several dozen medical research programs at the Department of Defense (DOD), collectively known as the “defense health research programs.” 

The organizations signing the letter include patient advocacy organizations, professional medical societies, research foundations, and veterans’ organizations.

The letter was organized by the Defense Health Research Consortium, a coalition of 28 organizations representing individuals coping with prevalent conditions like cancer, rare diseases such as tuberous sclerosis complex and neurofibromatosis, and other conditions unique to veterans populations such as Gulf War Illness. Patients represented by these groups have benefitted significantly from the cutting-edge medical research funded by the defense health research programs.

Instead of completing the final fiscal year 2017 appropriations process before the end of the year, Congress is poised to enact a short-term continuing resolution to fund programs at existing levels through March or April. According to the letter, “this approach would have devastating consequences for medical research, creating 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 FY17 grants.”

CRD Associates organized this consortium in 2014, and is proud to have assisted with this important letter. The Consortium organized a letter earlier this year that helped stave off threats to vital health research programs during Senate consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act. Working together, these diverse organizations have presented a united front to Congress to express the importance of continuity of funding for these vital and proven medical research programs.

A copy of the letter can be accessed here:­­