POLITICAL ACTION: House Appropriations bill adds money for Lyme disease
There’s good news for the Lyme community in a House Appropriations bill that just emerged from committee. Although the economic downturn has forced many programs covered by the bill to be reduced or even cut out entirely, the measure increases the Lyme disease budget of the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC’s Lyme budget had been dropping in recent years. But the committee’s 2010 appropriations bill calls for an increase of $3.66 million, bringing the CDC’s total Lyme budget to almost $9 million.
The bill also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to review and coordinate that department’s Lyme-related activities and to report back to Congress by September 2010. Additionally, it encourages the CDC to improve diagnostics and asks the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide a conference on the full spectrum of Lyme disease, allowing for patient input.
Special kudos go to Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) who wrote and introduced the bill’s Lyme-related language. Appropriations Committee members Frank Wolf (R-VA), and Nita Lowey (D-NY) were instrumental in getting it included.
The Lyme Disease Association (LDA), Time for Lyme (TFL), and the California Lyme Disease Association (CALDA) applaud these three Congressional representatives for their bi-partisan support in this effort to provide more answers on Lyme and tick-borne diseases. The three groups also express deep gratitude to Lyme patients everywhere who responded to alerts and contacted their Congressional Members on Appropriations.
Now the appropriations bill will be considered by the full US House of Representatives.