NIH/NIA Appropriations Legislation:
On April 1, 2014, Representative Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced H.R. 4351 and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced S. 2192, the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act of 2014. Both bills would amend the National Alzheimer's Project Act to require the Director of the National Institutes of Health to prepare and submit, directly to the President for review and transmittal to Congress, an annual budget estimate (including an estimate of the number and type of personnel needs for the Institutes) for the initiatives of the National Institutes of Health pursuant to such Act. H.R 4351 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and S. 2192 referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee.
On April 10, 2014, Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA) introduced H.R. 4472, the US-Israeli Global Neuroscience Partnership Act of 2014. The bill would provide for the establishment of a grant program to support United States-Israeli cooperation for neuroscience-related research, and for other purposes. H.R. 4472 would require the Secretary, acting through the Director of NIH, to award grants to eligible entities for neuroscience-related research and establish in NIH an International Neuroscience Related Research Advisory Board. Sec. 6 of the bill provides for the termination of the program and the Advisory Board upon the expiration of the 7-year period that begins on the date of the enactment of the Act. H.R. 4472 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Congressional Visits and Hearings:
On February 26th, Francis Collins, Director, NIH; accompanied by Richard Hodes, Director, NIA; and Story Landis, Director, NINDS; testified on Alzheimer’s Disease before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education. NIA received extensive Questions for the Record from Members following this hearing.
At the request of House Energy and Commerce Committee majority and minority staff, Kathy Hudson, Deputy Director for Science, Outreach, and Policy, NIH, Richard Hodes, Director, NIA, Griffin Rodgers, Director, NIDDK, and Robert Carter, Deputy Director, NIAMS, provided a briefing on March 10th, on the NIH Accelerating Medical Partnership (AMP), a collaboration between private and public entities to find a cure for complex disorders such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. A similar briefing was held at the request of Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions majority and minority staff, on March 21st.
On March 26th, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies held a hearing on the Future of Biomedical Research. Francis Collins, Director, NIH, testified. He was accompanied by Harold Varmus, Director, NCI, Anthony Fauci, Director, NIAID; Gary Gibbons, Director, NHLBI, and Story Landis, Director, NINDS. Alzheimer’s disease was discussed several times during the hearing.
On April 2nd, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies held a hearing on the NIH FY 2015 Budget. Francis Collins, Director, NIH, testified. He was accompanied by Harold Varmus, Director, NCI; Anthony Fauci, Director, NIAID; Gary Gibbons, Director, NHLBI; Story Landis, Director, NINDS; and Christopher Austin, Director, NCATS. Several questions from Members focused on Alzheimer’s disease.
At the request of Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Francis Collins, Director, NIH, travelled to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS, on April 14th. Senator Moran hosted Dr. Collins during a visit with representatives from the KU Medical Center and others, and Dr. Collins provided remarks during a ceremony in which Senator Moran received the Science Coalition’s Champion of Science Award. KU is the location of an NIA-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
Submitted by: Melinda Kelley, Ph.D., Senior Health Policy Analyst, National Institute on Aging