WASHINGTON, D.C. -- September 18, 2018 – The American Heart Association is urging members of the U.S. Senate to quickly pass an appropriations package this week that would raise the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $2 billion.
“This bill is a triumph for patients with cardiovascular disease across the country who are depending on medical research for treatments and cures,” said AHA President Ivor Benjamin, M.D. “We commend congressional leaders for producing a conference bill that boosts NIH funding for the fourth consecutive year. We strongly encourage the Senate and House to approve this bill, which would fund NIH at levels 30 percent, or $9 billion, higher than in FY 2016.”
By increasing the NIH budget by $2 billion, the bill would fund the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at $3.488 billion and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at $2.274 billion. In addition, the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative would receive $429 million, and the All of Us research initiative would receive $376 million.
“Robust and sustained funding increases for NIH are critical to ensuring our standing as a global leader in research, and they make it possible for groundbreaking research to move forward that will help conquer cardiovascular disease, the no. 1 killer in America and around the world,” Benjamin said. “CVD patients nationwide commend Senators Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wa.) for championing lifesaving NIH-funded research.”
The bill, which covers FY 2019 appropriations for the Department of Defense, the Department of Education and the Department of Health & Human Services, would maintain current funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program ($140.062 million) and Office on Smoking and Health ($210 million). Also receiving level funding are the Million Hearts Initiative, which aims to prevent 1 million cardiovascular events by 2022, and the WISEWOMAN program, which helps women reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke by providing services to promote lasting heart-healthy lifestyles.
The bill would appropriate $1.17 billion for Student Support and Academic Achievement State Grants (SSAE), $70 million above the FY 2018 level. SSAE is a critical program authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act and is a vital component of a healthy, well-rounded education for children. With this support, schools can receive additional funding for their physical education classes, among other activities. The American Heart Association is pleased with the proposed funding increase but urges Congress to fund the program at $1.65 billion, as authorized.
“If current trends continue, nearly half the U.S. population will suffer from cardiovascular disease by 2035, at a projected cost of more than $1 trillion per year,” Benjamin said. “CDC’s prevention and early detection programs are critical to preventing this crisis. We urge lawmakers to sustain enhanced investments in NIH and commit to the CDC’s prevention programs that are making a difference in the fight against this burdensome disease.”
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