Jul. 12, 2013

Activists Heard: Senate Committee Boosts Lupus Research Funding

On July 11, 2013, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a draft of the fiscal year (FY) 2014 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill. The Lupus Foundation of America applauds the efforts of the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure that funding for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and lupus programs are a priority.

As part of the Lupus Foundation of America’s National Lupus Advocacy Summit on June 25, more than 250 lupus activists went to Capitol Hill and asked their Members of Congress to support lupus research funding and NIH funding. In addition, lupus activists delivered the National Lupus Research Petition with more than 30,000 signatures asking Congress to support lupus research funding. Lupus activists also came out in force online generating more than 3,500 emails to Congress.

The Lupus Foundation of America is leading the fight to secure more funding for lupus research, from Capitol Hill to State Houses across the nation. But we must keep up efforts to educate Congress on the urgent need to provide more resources for lupus research. We urge everyone affected by lupus to join us in urging Congress give more priority to lupus and help solve the cruel mystery of this unpredictable and devastating disease.

The FY 14 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill has a long and difficult journey ahead with the funding recommendations by Senate appropriators being nearly 35 percent more than the House appropriators have allocated for their Labor-HHS bill. However, the Senate draft measure shows great support for lupus research funding and programs.

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s support of NIH and lupus demonstrates their voices were heard. The draft measure would fund the NIH at $31 billion, an increase of $307 million from the FY 13 funding level. The Committee also recommended $2 million to continue the national health education program on lupus for healthcare providers, with the goal of improving diagnosis for those with lupus and reducing health disparities. In addition, $4.43 million was allocated to the National Lupus Patient Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calling for additional cohort and burden of illness studies and programs aimed at filling the gaps identified in the Registry project.