May 21, 2019
The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee today passed the Defense Appropriations bill, which allocates our full request for $10 million — double the current budget — for the Lupus Research Program in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for Fiscal Year 2020. It is your hard work hundreds of visits, emails and calls — that convinced legislators to support more lupus research.
The Lupus Research Program was first established in Fiscal Year 2017. Reflecting the great need for grant funding, the response from the nation’s scientific community has been overwhelming. In just two years, 220 applications were received, representing an estimated $80 million in requested funding. With a limited budget of $5 million each year, only 13 grants were given the first year and 12 in the second.
With these new funds, the Lupus Research Program stands to receive a total of $25 million over its first four years, which will mean so much for researchers working to improve treatment – and find a cure – for lupus. We are very proud to see the growth of this program, which our advocates worked to secure for over 10 years and requested the increased budget when on the Hill March 19.
On behalf of the entire lupus community, the Lupus Research Alliance thanks the Congressional Lupus Caucus for its support for lupus research. We also greatly appreciate the ongoing commitment from House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Defense Subcommittee Chair Peter Visclosky (D-IN) and Lupus Caucus Co-chairs: William Keating (D-MA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Peter King (R-NY).
The funding in the House Defense Appropriations bill is exciting; yet it still has a ways to go through the annual appropriations process, including consideration by the Senate and final passage before the end of this fiscal year in September. We will keep you posted on its progress and will call on you if we need to continue to urge policymakers to increase funding for lupus research.
Meanwhile we thank and celebrate all our advocates and members of Congress who support medical research and lupus research in particular!