Cancer and Health Programs See Gains in FY19 Budget

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 – Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) acknowledges the historic passage of the combined Department of Defense (DOD) and Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) appropriations package by the House following approval by the Senate. The bill will now go to the President for his signature. This package, which combines funding for DOD and LHHS along with a continuing resolution to cover other government spending from October 1 to December 7, was passed before the September 30 deadline and the start of the 2019 fiscal year. This is the first time in over a decade that Congress has not stalled the annual spending bill, but instead, worked in a bipartisan way within time constraints and through the difficult process of negotiating two different bills into one package before the budget deadline.

Most notably, the appropriations package reflects the negotiated funding level of $14 million in FY19 for the Lung Cancer Research Program within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at DOD. In addition, the LHHS bill includes $39.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) —a $2 billion increase for medical research—which includes a total of $6.1 billion for NCI; an amount that will ultimately increase the amount of investment on lung cancer research at the agency.

Since 2008, LCA has consistently led advocacy efforts to increase federal research funding through the annual appropriations process by working with key champions like Reps. Rick Nolan (D-MN) and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) through the Congressional Lung Cancer Caucus. Last year, LCA advocated for and Congress approved an additional $2 million increase for lung cancer research through the Nolan and LoBiondo Amendment that brought funding from $12 million to $14 million in FY18. This year, LCA worked even harder with the caucus chairs to obtain a $6 million increase to the $14 million in order to restore the original funding level of $20 million for the Lung Cancer Research Program.

Unfortunately, even with 522 action alert emails sent to Congress from constituents and 120 advocates requesting this funding during LCA’s July 2018 National Advocacy Summit, the Nolan and LoBiondo Amendment which passed in the House back in June was not retained in the final appropriations conference report for FY19. While we are greatly disappointed in this outcome, we are pleased to be able to sustain continued funding at the $14 million level, given that last year’s bill carried many provisions that if passed would have removed medical research programs from the DOD budget. Thankfully, due to the collective efforts of our advocacy community, we did not lose these programs and do not have to face this threat again this year.

The Lung Cancer Research Program at CDMRP has played a critical role in supporting high-impact, innovative lung cancer research within the military and general public in several areas including risk assessment, prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and outcomes.

LCA remains committed to restoring the $20 million funding level for CDMRP’s Lung Cancer Research Program in the FY20 budget and will work with our community of advocates to further educate members of Congress to ensure increased research funding and access to high quality care.

Full details about the CDMRP can be viewed here.

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