Jan. 15, 2014

Congress Recognizes the Importance of Lupus Research and Programs

What a way to kick off 2014! Last night, the House and Senate appropriators unveiled the Omnibus Appropriations bill. All 12 outstanding appropriations bills are rolled into one, including the all-important Labor-HHS-Education bill that houses many of our lupus programs. Thanks to the ongoing advocacy work by the Lupus Foundation of America and our network of activists and supporters, the news for lupus could not be better….

The National Lupus Patient Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will receive the largest appropriation in the program’s history…$5.5 million. This is a $1.9 million dollar increase over the FY 2013 post-sequester appropriation of $3.6 million for the largest lupus prevalence study ever conducted. Funds allocated to date for the program now exceed $30 million.

In a dramatic turn of events, the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) pot of money will increase from $50 million to $200 million. The Lupus Foundation of America was instrumental in having lupus included in the program, and we will encourage the research community to apply for these vital funds.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be funded at $29.9 billion representing a $1 billion increase.
The Lupus Initiative, aimed at educating physicians and other health professionals about lupus, within the Office of Minority Health, will be funded at $2 million, a $1.2 million increase.

Thank you to all lupus activists for sharing your stories to bring greater attention and resource to the fight against lupus. 

Next steps: The current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on January 15, 2014. Congress will pass a short-term (3 days) CR to allow time for votes, finally closing out the FY 14 appropriations process.

We will keep you posted.  Together we will solve the cruel mystery!