A Possible Cut in Hydrocephalus Research Funding from Capitol Hill

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Congress is currently debating a bill that could have major implications for hydrocephalus research through what’s known as the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). CDMRP funds medical research for service members and veterans, including research related to treatment for traumatic brain injury and neurological diseases.

The program is funded through something called the National Defense Authorization Act, which has been passed by the House and Senate in different forms. Unfortunately, the Senate version of the bill includes language that would severely restrict access to these funds, while the House bill did not. Members from both chambers must work out the differences on the bill in a “conference committee” and the debate in that committee has major implications for this crucial life-saving research. It’s now up to members of the conference committee to decide whether access to these funds will be restricted.

Why is this important to the Hydrocephalus Community? In 2015, after the persistent work of our hydrocephalus advocates on Capitol Hill in conjunction with our Congressional allies, hydrocephalus became listed as an eligible condition for the Department of Defense’s CDMRP funds. This opened up a substantial pool of research dollars previously not available to our research community. In 2009 and 2015 respectively, HA granted 2 brilliant scientists modest grants totaling $160K which allowed these scientists to continue to develop their research hypotheses and critical supporting data for the purpose of ultimately applying for larger public funds. This past July, these two researchers, Dr. Bonnie Blazer-Yost of Indiana University –
Purdue University Indianapolis, and Dr. Jerold Chun, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, received grants through CDMRP totaling $2.4M to continue their respective ground breaking work that could lead to the prevention of hydrocephalus caused by a brain bleed. If the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act passes, access to these funds will be severely restricted, limiting the ability of our scientists to submit for future funding.

Over 200 members of Congress have signed onto a letter asking members of the leaders of the conference committee to support CDMRP in the final version of their bill. In addition, the Hydrocephalus Association joined over 110 organizations in sending a separate letter. Your team at the Hydrocephalus Association is following this issue closely, and we anticipate that legislators will make a decision very soon. Stay tuned for updates and what you can do to help!

To sign up for Advocacy email alerts, click here to join our Hydrocephalus Action Network.

The conference committee members, as organized by state, are as follows:

Alabama: Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
Alaska: Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
Arizona: Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Arkansas: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR)
California: Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA), Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), Rep. Dan Donovan (R-CA), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Colorado: Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)
Connecticut: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Florida: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL)
Georgia: Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)
Guam: Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU)
Hawaii: Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Illinois: Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)
Indiana: Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)
Iowa: Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Kentucky: Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), Rep.  John Yarmuth (D-KY)
Maine: Sen. Angus King (D-ME)
Massachusetts: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA)
Michigan: Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
Minnesota: Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN)
Mississippi: Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS)
Missouri: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
Nebraska: Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE); Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
New Hampshire: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
New Jersey: Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
New York: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Elise Stefanik (D-NY), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)
New Mexico: Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
North Carolina: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)
Ohio: Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH)
Oklahoma: Sen. James Inhofe(R-OK), Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)
Oregon: Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
Pennsylvania: Rep. Bob Brady (D-PA), Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Rhode Island: Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI)
South Carolina: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
South Dakota: Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Tennessee: Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
Texas: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Rep. Lamar Smith (D-TX), Rep. Mac Thornbery (R-TX), Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX)
Utah: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT)
Virginia: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Washington: Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)
Wyoming: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)

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