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JDF Washington Report
Volume II, No. 29
November 29, 1999

NIH Budget on Track to Double Over Five Years; DRWG Push Continues

Congress adjourned for the year after passing the final budget bill that included funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bill, H.R. 3424, provides the NIH with a 15-percent increase-or an additional $2.3 billion-in funding, bringing the total NIH budget to $17.9 billion.

Throughout the year, JDF advocates have been pushing for the 15-percent increase for the NIH-marking the second installment in the effort to double the NIH budget over five years. We are very pleased that with your vocal support, we were able to attain such a large increase for NIH two years in a row, and have made NIH one of the fastest-if not the fastest-growing federal agencies.

In addition, JDF volunteers have pressed all year for implementation of the Diabetes Research Working Group (DRWG) report. The DRWG, created through legislation drafted by House Diabetes Caucus Co-chair George Nethercutt (R-WA) and JDF in 1997, developed a national, strategic plan to cure diabetes. The report called upon Congress and the NIH to provide $827 million for diabetes research, an 80-percent increase above the current funding level of $450 million.

While we are disappointed that the DRWG recommendations were not explicitly implemented in the final budget agreement, most of the decisions regarding how NIH will implement the DRWG report will be made over the next year, as NIH makes specific programmatic decisions and scientific review committees approve specific grants. JDF will be spending the next several months meeting with NIH Institute Directors to encourage them to implement the DRWG-in particular those recommendations that impact juvenile diabetes. We will also use the extensive "report language" that was included in twenty different sections of the House and Senate appropriations bills; this language called upon NIH to implement the DRWG report and highlighted specific research initiatives related to juvenile diabetes.

We are fortunate that we will have help in the effort to implement the DRWG from the House and Senate Diabetes Caucuses. In statements released over the past few days, House Diabetes Caucus Co-chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-chair Susan Collins (R- ME) have affirmed their commitment to help JDF implement the DRWG:

Rep. DeGette said, "I am pleased that this year's budget included a fifteen-percent increase for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This continues our commitment to doubling the NIH's budget in the next five years...I, along with the JDF and other diabetes advocates, will continue to push the NIH to allocate the full $827 million recommended by the Diabetes Research Working Group to fund the extraordinary research opportunities identified in the report. We are too close to remarkable breakthroughs to fail to fully fund this research."

Sen. Collins stated that, "I am pleased that the legislation includes several of my priorities, for which I've worked throughout the session...including a $2.3 billion increase in biomedical research for the NIH-a 15 percent increase for which I strongly advocated. I will continue to work to ensure that NIH fully implements the Diabetes Research Working Group's recommendations."

JDF looks forward to working with Rep. DeGette, Sen. Collins and the other leaders of diabetes research in Congress, including Rep. Nethercutt, Senate Diabetes Caucus Co-chair John Breaux (D-LA), House Diabetes Caucus Vice Chair Curt Weldon (R-PA), and House Diabetes Caucus Vice Chair John LaFalce (D-NY) to implement the DRWG's recommendations.

Final Budget Deal Allows Stem Cell Research to Move Forward

In addition to our important advocacy in support of diabetes research funding, JDF volunteers have worked diligently to ensure that federal funds will be available to support stem cell research. Scientists believe that stem cells may one day be able to be coaxed into insulin-producing cells capable of transplantation. Stem cell research also holds promise to help with a myriad of other diseases.

We are very pleased to report that thanks to your effective advocacy, Congress did not prohibit federal funding for this research. We expect NIH to develop regulations governing this research in the near future.

Unfortunately, it is possible that this issue could come up again next year. We will keep you updated. For more information about stem cell research, see

Juvenile Diabetes Foundation - Government Relations
1400 I Street, NW #500
Washington, DC 20005
1-800-JDF-1VOTE ex. 5 (800-533-1868)

Posted 5 December 1999

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