The federal government is currently funded through a continuing resolution (CR). To avoid a government shut-down due to lack of appropriations, Congress passed a CR that temporarily funds the government agencies and programs—including medical research funding. Under a CR, funding generally continues at the previous year’s levels, meaning no increases to research funding. Additionally, because the MS Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program is an “add-on,” the program would not receive funding under a CR. Ideally, Congress would pass a budget before October 1st
of every fiscal year.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The NIH is the country’s premier medical research institution and the single largest source of biomedical research funding in the world. In FY 2016 budget, the NIH received a total of $32.1 billion to fund medical research.
NIH is still functioning at that level of funding under the current continuing resolution which runs through April 28. Congress will need to pass a budget before that time or pass another continuing resolution to ensure that the NIH can continue its work.
Additionally, advocacy groups are advocating for a $2 billion increase in funding for FY 2018.
Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP)
The CDMRP is administered by the Department of Defense, funded by Congress. The Multiple Sclerosis Research Program (MSRP) is a part of CDMRP which funds important innovative research complementary to that of the NIH.
- More than 23,000 veterans living with MS receive care through the Veterans Health Administration.
- A 2003 Annals of Neurology study found that 5,345 veterans who served in Vietnam and the first Gulf War have been diagnosed with MS that was deemed "service-connected."
The MSRP received a $1 million increase in FY 2016, resulting in a total of $6 million. For 2017, the House Appropriations Committee recommended $6 million for MSRP.
The Senate Appropriations Committee does not provide specific funding amounts for the CDMRP programs, but has recommended a 5 percent increase over its 2016 funding level for medical research.
If Congress does not pass defense funding for 2017, the MSRP would not receive funding for that year, resulting in extreme setback for MS research within the Department of Defense. The Society asks Congress to provide $10 million for the MS Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program in fiscal year 2018.
National Neurological Conditions Surveillance (data collection) System
On December 7, the U.S. Senate approved the 21st Century Cures Act with a 94-5 vote, which included the Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act; this followed the House of Representatives 392-26 vote on November 30. The bill authorized the creation of the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance (data collection) System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now Congress must appropriate money for that system to be created. For fiscal year 2018, the Society asks that Congress provides $5 million for the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System.