With an overwhelming majority vote of 359 to 49, the House of Representatives just passed a bill to allocate $5 million to the Defense Department’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for lupus in the 2019 budget. This federal support of lupus research is a result of advocacy by lupus patients, organizations like the Lupus Research Alliance and supportive Members of Congress.
First established for FY2017, the program was extraordinarily well received — 121 applications from top lupus researchers were submitted and 13 were awarded. With an additional $5 million allocated in FY2018, the DoD recently issued a request for new research proposals.
With this bill, the Lupus Research Program stands to receive a total of $15 million over its first three years. We are especially proud to see the growth of this program which our advocates worked on securing for over 10 years.
Also today, the full Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Defense spending bill which is also expected to provide funding to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for lupus. Additionally, the Senate Committee advanced the Labor, Health and Human Services & Education bill that provides the $2 billion increase we asked for to the National Institutes of Health.
We will keep you posted on both pieces of legislation as they move through the House and Senate. But meanwhile we thank and celebrate all our advocates and members of Congress who support medical research and lupus research in particular.