Urge House Members to Oppose Brat Amendment to the 21st Century CURES Act

July 9, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Advocacy and Gov't Relations | Leave a comment

The MLA Government Relations Committee issued the follow action alert regarding a proposed amendment to the 21st Century CURES Act from Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA). Although there are no representatives from New England listed, it probably wouldn’t hurt if people contacted their own representatives in Congress and expressed support for defeating this amendment.

[Submitted by Gary Atwood, Chair, NAHSL Govt. Relations Comm.]

ACTION ALERT

If you see your Congressman’s name in the list below, please take IMMEDIATE Action.  Call their office and urge them to oppose the BRAT Amendment to the 21st Century CURES Act. Phone numbers can be found on their websites and at www.house.gov  

Today (Thursday, July 9), the House begins consideration of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act (H.R.6). Among other provisions, the bill would establish an $8.75 billion Innovation Fund for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which would provide the agency with an additional $1.75 billion a year in mandatory funding over five years.

The biosciences and medical library communities are asking their constituencies to urge their House Members to oppose an amendment (Amendment # 29) offered by Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.). This amendment would change the funding mechanism for the NIH Innovation Fund from mandatory spending to annual discretionary spending.

Key talking points (select 2 or 3 from the following for your message):

H.R. 6, 21st Century Cures Act, as passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and supported by MLA and AAHSL:

  • The Brat amendment would convert the Cures Innovation Fund from a mandatory spending to a discretionary program. This amendment would be a poison pill that would kill the 21st Century Cures bill.
  • Retains the critical role of the Appropriations Committee to determine the specific biomedical spending priorities through the regular appropriations process;
  • Reduces the federal deficit by more than $500 million over the next 10 years as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office
  • Includes permanent mandatory spending changes that will further reduce deficits in the long term
  • Provides funding for life saving research and treatment
  • Contributes to the economic engine of research and development
  • Energy and Commerce Republicans secured bipartisan support for several entitlement reforms to offset the cost of additional resources for the NIH and FDA. The Brat amendment would jeopardize the billions in Medicaid and Medicare savings secured in 21st Century Cures.  The reforms are permanent policy that will reduce entitlement spending by billions inside the budget window, and billions more outside the budget. These savings will vaporize if the House adopts the Brat amendment.
  • Energy and Commerce Republicans secured bipartisan support for several key reforms at the FDA that get safe and effective drugs to patients faster, reduce the cost of drug and device development, and most importantly, advance the voice of patients in the FDA review process.  These reforms will be lost if the House adopts the Brat amendment.
  • Energy and Commerce Republicans secured bipartisan support to include new incentives for innovators to repurpose approved drugs for rare diseases. 30 million patients suffer from a rare disease. There are no treatments or cures for 95% of these rare diseases.  This key reform, supported by over 150 rare disease patient groups, will be lost if the House adopts the Brat amendment.
  • Unlike other mandatory spending, the Innovation Fund is capped, sunsets at the end of FY 2020, and is fully paid for. In fact, CBO estimated that H.R. 6 will reduce the deficit by $500 million over the next decade. 21st Century Cures will also reduce spending by billions outside the budget window since it includes permanent entitlement reforms.
  • Some have argued that the mandatory funding in 21st Century Cures is a “bait-and switch” since the Energy and Commerce Committee reported a bill that scored as discretionary. This argument is highly is misleading and completely deceptive.

The following is an unofficial whip count for House Members who may be “undecided” or “leaning no” on the 21st Century Cures Act.

UNDECIDED (34)              

Aderholt, Robert (AL)

Blum, Rod (IA)

Bridenstine, Jim (OK)

Cole, Tom (OK)

Duffy, Sean (WI)

Foxx, Virginia (NC)

Gibbs, Bob (OH)

Gohmert, Louie (TX)

Gowdy, Trey (SC)

Grothman, Glenn (WI)

Hardy, Cresent (NV)

Hice, Jody (GA)

Huizenga, Bill (MI)

Hurt, Robert (VA)

Kelly, Trent (MS)

King, Steve (IA)

Knight, Steve (CA)

Lamborn, Doug (CO)

Marchant, Kenny (TX)

Palmer, Gary (AL)

Roby, Martha (AL)

Rooney, Tom (FL)

Rothfus, Keith (PA)

Rouzer, David (NC)

Schweikert, David (AZ)

Scott, Austin (GA)

Thompson, Glenn (PA)

Thornberry, Mac (TX)

Walker, Mark (NC)

Westerman, Bruce (AR)

Woodall, Rob (GA)

Yoho, Ted (FL)

Young, David (IA)

Young, Todd (IN)

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has released several documents in support of the bill, including:

21st Century Cures: Fiscally Responsible, Meaningful Reform

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