Dear Research Advocate:

As the November 23 deadline approaches, concern is growing that the supercommittee may be unable to craft a viable agreement for deficit reduction. Should Congress fail to pass a bill by December 23 and so-called “sequestration” occurs, funding for medical research could be cut by 7% or more — a blow to U.S. innovation our country simply cannot afford. Meanwhile, the continuing resolution that keeps the government funded expires on Friday. While it is expected that it will be extended to December 16, anything can happen!

The House and Senate have reached a conference agreement on increased funding levels for the NSF(+$173 million) and the FDA(+50 million). This is important to note, since significant cuts had been proposed earlier in the appropriations process; it is proof that the appropriations process is dynamic and that advocacy matters. The “minibus” bill in which this funding is included will be voted on by both bodies by the end of this week. Thank your representative in advance for voting “yes<>.” There is no definitive word on when the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, which includes NIH, CDC and AHRQ, will move forward; thus there is time, and urgent need, to pen more op-eds!

We are seeing an uptick in engagement with the media. Nine op-eds have appeared in Ohio newspapers in just the last few weeks, taking the state record! In “Cancer research on life support”<> in the Orange County (CA) Register, Dr. Frank Meyskens writes, “To save lives, we must continue to invest federal dollars. We must urge our policymakers to stand up for the medical science supported by NIH and NCI and preserve funding to research institutions.” Have you submitted your op-ed yet?

Perhaps stimulated by an uptick in op-ed submissions, editors appear to be assigning more coverage of the funding challenges facing research. “Deficit deal could place research grants, jobs, lives at risk <click here>appeared in the Columbus Dispatch and “Mass. research funding at risk<click here>” appeared in the Boston Globe.  A new report<click here> from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) shows that the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals added nearly $45 billion to the U.S. economy in 2009 and provides great material to help make your case.

CQ Healthbeat recently covered our Your Candidates–Your Health voter education initiative (attached). You can help find out where the presidential candidates stand on health research. Send a message<> to the campaign offices today!