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Grant Olan

As the clock winds down to the start of Fiscal Year 2013 on October 1, 2012, congressional leaders have reached an agreement to keep the government funded for an additional 6 months. The deal would avoid a last minute showdown over the budget and a possible government shutdown before the November election. Congress is expected to pass the continuing resolution this month, which would provide government funding through March 2013 at the levels Congress agreed to when it passed the 2011 Budget Control Act. However, Congress will still have its hands full with other contentious business this fall.

Topping the

Grant Olan

Current federal deficit reduction efforts could lead to more cuts to U.S. medical research funding. Since the November 2012 election, Congress has been consumed with averting the “fiscal cliff” on January 2, 2013.

As of press time, Congress and President Obama had not reached a deal, but most experts agree that one would be made either before or after the January deadline. If before, the agreement would most likely employ a two-step process whereby Congress would agree with the president to allow the 2003 tax cuts to expire for the top 2 percent of wage earners and postpone the automatic

Grant Olan

Despite shrinking funding for kidney research and a record low grant application success rate at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more cuts are set to take effect in 2014 unless Congress takes action to prevent them.

As part of ASN’s response to this continued threat to research, the society asks members to meet with congressional offices in their home districts in November and December to highlight the value and importance of continued investments in medical research. This district-level advocacy is a crucial corollary to the society’s advocacy work.

ASN recently surveyed its U.S. members to collect feedback on the

Grant Olan

On October 16, 2013, the U.S. Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government, ending a 16-day government shutdown—the first in nearly two decades—that began October 1. The CR expires on January 15, 2014, when Congress must pass a budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2014 (or, alternatively, pass another short-term CR funding government beyond that date). In the absence of a budget or CR, the government would again shut down.

Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have stated that they do not want that to happen, and have agreed to call together a budget

Grant Olan

On December 18, 2015, Congress passed a budget deal that averted a government shutdown and makes substantial new investments in federal research, a top ASN policy priority. The deal increased the budgets for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Research Program.

ASN has been working in partnership with the research advocacy community to build support in Congress for these increases since Congress enacted deficit reduction measures in 2010 that cut research budgets.

The deal increases the budget for NIDDK in 2016

Grant Olan

The new National Institutes of Health (NIH) strategic plan (Figure 1) released in December 2015 includes three ASN recommendations that will guide the agency’s research agenda over the next five years. During summer 2015, 450 stakeholders in the research community responded to NIH’s request for feedback and input.

2016–2020 NIH strategic plan

ASN called on NIH to consider disease burden when setting research funding priorities. Currently, NIH investments in kidney research ($585 million) are less than 1% of total Medicare costs for patients with kidney diseases ($80 billion). In fact, costs of care for patients with

Grant Olan

On February 9, 2016, President Barack Obama released his budget proposal for 2017, the official start of the congressional budget process. Although the proposal includes increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other ASN priorities, it relies on budget gimmicks that some congressional appropriators are calling nonstarters.

With those budget gimmicks, the President’s proposal would increase NIH funding overall by $825 million for a total of $33 billion. However, the entire increase would go to a handful of administration priorities that include the Cancer Moonshot, Precision Medicine Initiative, and BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. None

Grant Olan

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) helps fund more than 3400 investigators around the country who conduct cutting-edge veteran-focused research in many areas, including kidney disease. More than 3000 veterans are diagnosed with kidney failure each year, and 30,000 veterans are on dialysis.

The list of VA investigator contributions to research during the agency’s 90-year history is lengthy and includes the first long-term successful kidney transplant. The VA research program was a big winner in the 2016 budget deal, which increased its funding by $42 million, a 7.1% increase. In his 2017 budget proposal, President Barack Obama is again asking

Grant Olan

ASN President Raymond C. Harris MD, FASN, (left) and Raymond M. Hakim MD, PhD, (right) meet with congressional Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN, center) in his office on Capitol Hill to discuss the Living Donor Protection Act (S. 2584/H.R. 4616).

For the fourth consecutive year, the ASN Public Policy Board and Board of Advisors partnered with patient advocates from the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) in Washington, DC, to host Kidney Health Advocacy Day 2016 in April. The goal of Kidney Health Advocacy Day 2016 was to bring kidney patients and kidney doctors together to meet with members of Congress

Grant Olan

With a budget of $1.95 billion last year, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is the largest source of federal funding for kidney research, but certainly not the only one. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a comprehensive research portfolio aimed at advancing the treatment of kidney failure, as well as preventing and slowing the progression of kidney disease.

Like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), VA research grant proposals are subject to a peer review process. Only the most promising proposals based on objective, evidence-based science are funded. Unlike NIH, the VA