Support cancer research by supporting the Spector-Harkin Amendment

Evolgen and I both wrote about this earlier, when the Genetics Society of America urged people to contact their Senators. Now the biggest organization dedicated to cancer research, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), has weighed in. Received in my e-mail today:

To: All AACR Members

From: Dr. Margaret Foti, Chief Executive Officer; Dr. William G. Nelson V, Chairperson, Science Policy & Legislative Affairs Committee

Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2006 by e-mail

Re:’Please Contact Your Senators TODAY or TOMORROW in Support of the Specter-Harkin Budget Amendment and the Feinstein-Mikulski Amendment
-MAKE CONTACT BY 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 16

  • The President’s FY 2007 budget proposal calls for no increase for the National Institutes of Health (which was cut by .1% in FY 2006) and for a cut of $40 million for the National Cancer Institute (which was cut .7% in FY 2006).

  • The Senate is taking up the FY 2007 budget today (March 15) and is expected to vote on it by tomorrow afternoon.

  • Senators Specter and Harkin have proposed an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 83) which would add $7 billion above the President’s budget request in order to restore funding for the NIH and NCI to FY 2005 levels.

  • According to Senator Harkin, “This is the decisive vote . . . this is our best, maybe our last real opportunity to change our budget priorities, and if we fail to act we will indeed be cutting into the bone and marrow of our most important programs.”

  • Senators Feinstein and Mikulski have now also introduced a cancer-specific amendment that would increase funding for cancer research and programs by $390 million.

  • Without an increase in funding by the Budget Committees, the Appropriations Committees will simply be unable to provide more funding for the NIH and NCI than is provided in the President’s woefully inadequate FY 2007 budget’

AACR urges you to call your Senators between now and Thursday afternoon, March 16th and take the following steps:

  1. Call (202) 225-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senators.
    Once connected to the offices, ask to speak with the legislative assistant who handles health care issues (or leave a message).

  2. Request that the Senator vote FOR the SPECTER-HARKIN budget amendment to increase funding for health and education by $7 billion.

  3. Request that the Senator vote FOR the Feinstein-Mikulski budget amendment to increase funding for cancer research and programs by $390 million.

  4. Make it clear that there is no excuse, rationale, or explanation to justify voting against their constituents and approximately 1.5 million Americans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year and the nearly 10 million Americans living with and beyond cancer.

  5. Let them know you will be following the budget process closely and ask them to keep you up to date on what actions they take.

Please ACT by March 16. Thank you for your ACTION to support cancer research.

This may be the last chance we have to try to prevent further degradation of our cancer research effort. Yes, I have a vested interest in this, but I also believe strongly that the NIH happens to be one of those rare government agencies that truly gives us a lot of bang for the buck.