Thursday, March 22, 2012


As a direct result of MS Activists visiting Capitol Hill during the recent Public Policy Conference and over 1,300 emails sent to Capitol Hill, we achieved significant support for funding for MS research and for a federal program that supports family caregivers. Each year, as part of the federal budget process, MS activists weigh in and ask their members to support priorities for the MS community. As part of this, we ask our members of Congress to sign on to “Dear Colleague” letters which are sent to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, recommending certain funding levels for various programs that help people affected by MS. The three Dear Colleague letters circulated in the U.S. House of Representatives that MS activists worked on support MS research funding in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and funding for the Lifespan Respite Care Program (LRCP). Our hard work paid off--many more members of Congress signed each letter than last year.

We are excited to announce that 68 bipartisan Representatives signed on to the letter supporting $10 million for MS research in the CDMRP by signing on to the Dear Colleague letter circulated by Rep. Russ Carnahan (MO-3) and Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (TX-26). The CDMRP funds high risk, high reward research that can help lead us to a better understanding of MS, better treatments and one day, a cure.

MS Caucus Co-Chairs and Leads of a Dear Colleague Letter Supporting MS Research in the CDMRP Reps. Carnahan (MO-3) and Burgess (TX-26) with Former Society Interns
Funding for the NIH was supported by 155 bipartisan Representatives in a Dear Colleague letter led by Rep. Edward Markey (MA-7) and Rep. Brian Bilbray (CA-50). The NIH is the country’s premier institution for medical research and in Fiscal Year 2011, supported $122 million of MS research.

Lastly, 33 Representatives supported $5 million for the Lifespan Respite Care Program in a Dear Colleague letter led by Rep. Jim Langevin (RI-2). The LRCP provides funding to states to establish or enhance statewide respite networks that support our nation’s 60 million family caregivers.
Rep. Langevin (RI-2), Lead of the Dear Colleague Letter Supporting the Lifespan Respite Care Program, Speaking at the Society’s 2011 PPC

Let’s show our appreciation to the Congressional champions who led these letters, as well as to all of the Representatives who signed on and by doing so, showed their support for people living with MS. Take a moment to call or write a thank you to your Representative if s/he signed on to any/all of the letters. Click here to see the full list of Representatives that supported our policy priorities.

Stay tuned to learn about and take action on similar Dear Colleague letters that will be circulated in the Senate!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much of that will go towards researching PPMS & finding a treatment for it... Probably the same amount that's spent every year - $1.