The administration released its FY21 budget today which contains significant cuts to health care programs. If implemented, the cuts could leave millions more Americans uninsured and unable to access comprehensive health coverage and stall medical research essential to preventing, detecting and treating cancer.
Cancer Advocates Urge House Members to Follow Senate Lead and Support Legislation to Restore Funding for Federal Cancer Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- March 29, 2006 -- As the House Budget Committee begins deliberating this week, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN) is continuing its campaign to increase Cancer Research Funding by urging Representatives to join their Senate colleagues and insist upon a budget that restores and increases Cancer Research Funding.
Volunteers nationwide have been actively communicating their concerns about the proposed funding cuts to critical programs at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Congress has received more than 10,000 calls and emails from cancer patients and their families in strong support of increased funding and encouraging those Members on both sides of the aisle who have taken a stand to continue their fight.
“The Society applauds the bipartisan show of support for health care funding we have seen in the Senate and are now seeing in the House,” said Daniel E. Smith, the Society’s national vice president of government relations. “Our volunteers across the country are calling on Members to stand firm and refuse to accept cuts in cancer research and program funding that threaten recent progress in the fight against this disease. We have made such great progress in the fight against cancer and there is so much promise ahead. Now is not the time to let cancer research and programs wither on the budget vine.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) will introduce an amendment as early as today in the House Budget Committee that is similar to an amendment approved overwhelmingly in the Senate to add $7 billion for health and education programs for fiscal year 2007. DeLauro’s amendment would restore recent funding cuts to critical health care programs and research, including NCI and CDC.
Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE) is leading efforts by moderate Republican House members to ensure that the additional $7 billion is included in the final House budget resolution. This builds upon a letter sent by Reps. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and Fred Upton (R-MI) and 21 other House Republicans to House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert several days ago calling for a 2 percent increase in non-security, non-emergency discretionary spending.
The Senate voted 73-27 earlier this month in favor of an amendment by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) that added $7 billion to the Senate’s final budget resolution for health and education programs. In addition, the Senate approved an additional amendment by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) that calls for $390 million to be allocated to restore and increase cancer specific funding for Fiscal Year 2007 for programs and research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). “There are more than 10 million Americans living today who are cancer survivors,” said Carolyn D. Runowicz, MD, the Society’s national volunteer president. “Their fight and that of the millions of people who will join the cancer battle require that we maintain funding to continue to win the ‘war on cancer.’ Dwindling federal investment in cancer research and programs will result in a reduction in the tremendous gains we have made over the last several decades. The Society’s staff and volunteers are in this fight for the long haul. This was evident a few weeks ago when nearly 10,000 of our volunteers contacted their Senators over a 48 hour period to urge them to support attempts to increase cancer funding.”
The efforts by Reps. DeLauro, Castle, Johnson and Upton, like their Senate counterparts, are in contrast to congressional action from last fall that cut NIH’s budget for the first time in 35 years and cancer research for the first time in a decade. It would also counter recommendations made by President Bush in his budget for Fiscal Year 2007. In his proposal, the President provided no new funding for NIH and suggested cutting total NCI funding by $40 million and total CDC funding by $179 million. Bush proposed cutting cancer programs by $3.2 million, $1.4 million of which was slated for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) which provides uninsured and underinsured women with cancer screenings. This cut would compound the program’s already inadequate funding level, which only allows the program to serve one in five eligible women.
The Society and ACS CAN volunteers have lead efforts since early last fall to increase funding. Prior to this year’s State of the Union Address, more than 10,000 cancer advocates sent postcards to the White House asking the President to make cancer a national priority. In addition, more than 23,000 Society volunteers contacted their Members of Congress to voice opposition to cuts in funding for cancer and more than 17,000 sent postcards to ask Congress to specifically provide support for the NBCCEDP.
The Society and its volunteers will call nationwide attention to this need with Celebration on the Hill 2006, a unique event that will bring 10,000 cancer advocates to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. this Sept. 19 and 20.
The American Cancer Society is partnering with ACS CAN, its sister advocacy organization, to eliminate cancer as a major public health problem. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across America. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. ACS CAN, a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy organization, uses voter education and issue campaigns aimed at influencing candidates and lawmakers to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. ACS CAN does not endorse candidates and is not a political action committee (PAC). For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
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