Yesterday, Congressman Loebsack led a bipartisan group of 179 lawmakers in calling for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) to remain within the Department of Defense. The CDMRP is leading medical research into breast, lung, ovarian and pancreatic cancers, as well as finding cures for neurological diseases, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Established in 1992 by Senator Tom Harkin, the CDMRP has led to many advancements and breakthroughs in cancer research in order to improve the lives of our troops, veterans and their families. A Politico article on the letter follows.
House lawmakers want medical research preserved in NDAA (Politico- Oct 24)
Congressionally directed medical research programs funded by the Pentagon will "grind to a halt" if restrictions on the program are included in the National Defense Authorization Act, a large cadre of House lawmakers are warning.
In a letter, 179 lawmakers from both parties urge House and Senate Armed Services leaders negotiating final defense policy legislation H.R. 2810 (115) to reject provisions in the Senate-passed bill.
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) is the chief proponent of the restrictions, arguing much of the spending is unrelated to warfighting. A bipartisan effort to remove the restrictions was blocked on the Senate floor.
"If enacted into law, the aforementioned sections would impose such unrealistic burdens that CDMRP efforts would grind to a halt," the lawmakers warn.
The Senate-passed defense bill would place stricter requirements for the Pentagon to award a contract or grant. It also would require the Defense secretary and the service secretaries to certify that medical research projects "directly protect, enhance or restore" military service members' health.
But the program, the lawmakers counter, "has resulted in important medical breakthroughs" and should be continued.
"Medical research to improve the lives of military families and military retirees would be eliminated, critical training programs for military medical staff would be restricted and proven and successful collaborative research and grant initiatives would be disregarded," they add.
The letter was organized by four lawmakers: Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), Pete King (R-N.Y.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.).
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