Since You’re the Cure on the Hill, there have been several developments around our efforts to protect strong school nutrition standards and push for more funding for heart disease and stroke research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In the next few months, Congress will be reviewing legislation on school meals, with the House and Senate expected to debate the issue later this month and in July, prior to August recess. We’ll be getting in touch with you then to let you know how to capitalize on in-person meetings with your representatives and Senators when they’re back home. If you haven’t told your lawmakers why healthy school meals are so important, click here to do so in less than 60 seconds.
You can also check out our videos featuring AHA CEO Nancy Brown’s visit to Charles Rice Elementary in the Dallas Independent School District, a national leader on successfully meeting the standards, as well as a video featuring our youth advocate all-star Genna Ringler. And please make sure your friends and family know that all their questions on the importance of this issue can be answered at www.heart.org/SchoolMeals!
For NIH funding, here’s the latest:
Congressional appropriations: In the next few weeks, both House and Senate appropriations committees will propose funding levels for NIH. We are hoping to see an increase, but won’t know until the proposals are made public. Stay tuned!
21st Century Cures Act and NIH Innovation Fund: The U.S. House of Representatives is working on bill called the 21st Century Cures Act. One part of the bill would provide a much needed boost of money for the National Institutes of Health by creating the “NIH Innovation Fund”. Specifically, the Fund would allocate an additional $8.75 billion for new, innovative NIH research over a five year period or $1.75 billion a year. The House is expected to debate and vote on this legislation in the near future. Many aspects of the larger bill are still being worked out, but we are encouraged that it may provide more funding for medical research. Check back for more details.
NIH Senate Caucus: In late May, Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) formed the bipartisan NIH Senate Caucus. The goal of the caucus is to boost NIH’s funding, which has seen a 20% decrease in purchasing power over the years. Currently, there are 16 Senators in the caucus.
- Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Co-Chair
- Richard Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair
- Jerry Moran (R-KS)
- Roger Wicker (R-MS)
- Bob Casey (D-PA)
- Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
- Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
- Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
- Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
- Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
- Gary Peters (D-MI)
- Angus King (I-ME)
- Edward Markey (D-MA)
- Al Franken (D-MN)
- Brian Schatz (D-HI)
- Thom Tillis (R-NC)