Senate Committee Advances Legislation Including Lupus Funding
Earlier today, the Committee on Appropriations in the U.S. Senate advanced their fiscal year 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill. We're thrilled to report that the legislation includes millions in funding for lupus-specific programs and increased funding for the National Institutes of Health:
- $10 million for the National Lupus Patient Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
- $74.8 million for the Office of Minority Health, which includes the National Lupus Training, Outreach, and Clinical Trial Education Program;
- $49.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of nearly $1 billion over last year for the largest public funder of lupus research in the world.
If enacted into law, total funding for the National Lupus Patient Registry would reach more than $111 million since the Lupus Foundation of America and its advocates led the fight to create the program in 2003.
We're grateful to all of the lupus advocates who have contacted their Senators in support of these critical programs, including those who attended the 2023 National Lupus Advocacy Summit in April. Additionally, we are grateful to LHHS Subcommittee Chair Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), as well as Chair of the Appropriations Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) and Vice Chair Susan Collins for ensuring these programs were included in the Committee's legislation.
In both the House of Representatives and the Senate, their respective Committees on Appropriations have now passed their fiscal year 2024 LHHS spending bills. While we await complete details on the House's legislation, we know that it includes spending decreases of nearly $3 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $49 million for the Office of Minority Health.
Following the August recess, appropriators from both chambers will come together to resolve the differences in the two bills and prepare a final version to eventually become law.
Given the funding decreases in the House bill, it'll be critically important that members of Congress hear from lupus advocates about the importance of funding lupus research and education programs – to ensure you don't miss an opportunity to make your voice heard, sign up as an advocate!