In March 2020, we went to Capitol Hill with phone calls, emails and social media posts. Our virtual advocacy had a very real impact with a budget for 2021 that successfully:
- Allocated our requested $10 million to continue building the Lupus Research Program at the Department of Defense (DOD) – This funding took into consideration the critical need for more lupus research, plus the rising numbers of women treated at military health facilities.
- Increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $1.25 billion – This funding supported the medical research needed to fight lupus and other diseases as well as to catch up on years of lowered funding to the NIH.
- Increased funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by $43 million – This allowed the FDA to help the pharmaceutical industry innovate and develop new treatments — and, hopefully, one day a cure — for diseases like lupus.
- Secured House support for lupus research in Health and Defense budgets for fiscal year (FY) 2021 – We asked you to reach out to your legislators in Congress to ask them to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter circulated recently by the Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson’s office. Representative Johnson (TX-30) co-chairs the Congressional Lupus Caucus with Representative William Keating (MA-09) and Representative Andrew Garbarino (NY-02). This letter supports lupus research in Health and Defense budgets for FY 2021. We are pleased to report that 69 members in total signed, which is an increase by four members to last year’s letter.
Why We Needed to Ask Again in 2021 for 2022
You might wonder why we need to ask again for funding to support lupus research every year. It’s a must for many reasons. Funding is allocated on an annual basis, but the need for lupus research continues. Also, as legislators come and go, new members of Congress must hear your stories to understand why continued and additional funding is so critical. Regularly engaging with your senators and representatives helps maintain their support for more lupus funding each year. We have the best shot at securing funding for lupus if we ask every year when the budgets are being developed.
So this March 2021, we knocked on Congress doors again for a budget in 2022 that will increase the investment in lupus research. Click here to learn more about the current status of our advocacy requests.