First things first: Our Representatives must elect a new Speaker and get back to important work, including funding our government for 2024, as we are only days away from a shutdown. The delay has put cancer research funding at great risk, but the drama started to unfold months ago.
Back in June, then-Speaker McCarthy and President Biden reached a compromise deal to keep non-defense discretionary funding flat in 2024. Congress accepted this arrangement and passed the debt ceiling. Consistent with the arrangement, the Senate has acted in a bi-partisan fashion and passed spending bills, including funding for cancer research in 2024.
Some House Republicans, however, have ignored their speaker’s agreement and, in September, took up a bill that would cut cancer research by 30%, a bill that failed to pass. As of this writing, the House has not passed 2024 spending bills, and there appears to be significant internal disagreement among Republicans on the level of 2024 spending despite their prior agreement.
Cancer research grants are generally multi-year, which means part of the annual appropriation goes to grants already awarded. A dramatic cut in funding, such as 30%, would not slow but pretty much end new cancer research in 2024. Thanks to research, cancer deaths in the United States have steadily declined and today the Cancer Moonshot has the goal of preventing 4 million cancer deaths by 2047. The harsh fact is that dramatic cuts in 2024 will save a relatively small portion of the budget but will also fail to save lives.
Fortunately, the Senate has already passed spending bills with support from both Republicans and Democrats. They provide the National Cancer Institute (NCI) with $7.38 billion, a modest increase of $60 million. It also funds the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) with $1.5 billion.
The Colorectal Cancer Alliance calls on the House to act bipartisanly, like the Senate, and pass spending bills for cancer research at the same level. Neither political party has a strong majority in either chamber; the only way to govern responsibly is by working together.
The Alliance will aggressively advocate with House members for cancer research at the level set in the Senate. But what will make the most difference is if members hear from voters. You can make a difference, and it won’t take more than five minutes. Just send an email to your representative. It’s best if you tell your personal story, why colorectal cancer research is important to you; or feel free to use the sample below. You can find the address for your representative at www.house.gov.
I am writing to ask for your support for cancer research in the 2024 budget at the funding levels approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Cancer research through NCI and the new ARPA-H has proven successful in reducing cancer deaths. I hope you share my strong belief that beating cancer must be a priority.
Whether personally impacted by colorectal cancer (CRC), supporting a loved one, or dedicated to educating and empowering others, these downloadable and printable resources can help.
In this Q&A, get to know Jill Loftus, a passionate and dedicated Colorectal Cancer Alliance volunteer from Denver.
The American Cancer Society has released its latest insights into cancer trends in the publication "Cancer Statistics, 2024."