Here is the text of an email letter received from Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) regarding the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.
Dear Mr. Lewis:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about federal funding for medical research, specifically the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DOD) conducts vital medical research that is essential to developing preventive measures, treatments and cures for common and rare diseases. The CDMRP plays a unique role in the medical research community, investing in high-risk, high-reward research through an interactive peer and patient review system. The research is both innovative and successful.
Grants from the CDMRP have been used to support research into diseases as common as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, to rarer ones like scleroderma, which affects connective tissue. Fully funding and supporting this program is critical to finding cures and assisting those who suffer from these illnesses, as well as ensuring the United States continues to lead the world in cutting edge, bio-medical research.
Unfortunately, despite the CDMRP’s record of success, there have been regular attempts to end or significantly modify the program. Most recently, H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, contained a provision that would limit CDMRP funding to research that meets an extremely narrow set of criteria. I opposed this provision and cosponsored an amendment introduced by Senators Dick Durban of Illinois and Roy Blunt of Missouri to remove it. Although we were unable to remove this provision from H.R. 2810 before it passed the Senate, it was later removed when a compromise version was worked out between the House and the Senate. As a result, the final version of the NDAA did not contain this provision when it was passed by Congress and sent to the President.
Each year as Congress begins its appropriations process, I join my colleagues in signing letters to the Appropriations Committee in support of federal funding for medical research into specific diseases at the Department of Defense. Most recently, I authored a letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations requesting funding for all of the medical research programs through the CDMRP for FY2019; this letter was signed by 38 other Senators. The CDMRP is a valuable asset to the Department of Defense and the Nation, and it is critical to continue funding this program.
Improving and ensuring health care for all Americans is one of my top priorities in the Senate. As the FY 2019 appropriations process continues, please know that I will continue to fight for federal funding for medical research and prevention efforts as part of that goal.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.
For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.
United States Senator