e-Public Policy Update - December

Contents:

  • FY 2015 Funding Bill Completed
  • ASM Sends Letter to Congress on Omnibus Funding
  • ASM Signs Letter Regarding FY 2015 DOE Appropriations
  • ASM Endorses Letter to the FDA the Regarding Collection and Reporting of Antimicrobial Data
  • ASM Attends CLIAC Meeting
  • ASM Staff Attends JHU Public Health Workshop on Ebola
  • ASM Meets with Officials from WRAIR
  • ASM Meets with NSF BIO Assistant Director
  • ASM Attends December CCCLW Meeting
  • ASM attends FDA Anti-Infective Drugs Advisory Committee Meeting
  • Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter

FY 2015 Funding Bill Completed

In mid-December Congress passed the FY 2015 “CRomnibus” bill (H.R. 83) which funds federal agencies for the full fiscal year through September 30, 2015, except for the Homeland Security Department which is funded through February 27, 2015 on a continuing resolution. Highlights of provisions related to research and public health include the following:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The bill includes $30.08 billion for the NIH, $150 million above the fiscal year 2014 level a (0.5% increase). NIH receives an additional $238 million for Ebola activities. The bill reforms the Public Health Service evaluation transfer or “tap” so that NIH will receive $715 million in return for its contribution of $700 million. The appropriations report encourages NIAID, CDC and other federal partners to conduct a workshop to develop a coordinated action plan to address antibiotic resistance issues. The report directs NIH to develop a new approach to reduce the average age at which an investigator first obtains R01 funding and legislative language mandates NIH to submit a 5 year scientific strategic plan.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – The bill appropriates $6.9 billion for the CDC, $43 million above the fiscal year 2014 program level. CDC will also receive $1.2 billion for Ebola activities from the supplemental funding. The bill includes:
    • $405 million for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
    • $30 million to support the Advanced Molecular Detection Initiative
    • an increase of $8 million for food safety
    • an increase of $7.3 million for CDC’s internal lab capacity, including rapid diagnostics and high containment safety.
    • The proposed CDC Detect and Protect Against Antibiotic Resistance Initiative was excluded from the bill.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – will receive $2.6 billion, a $37 million increase from last year. Included is $27 million in new funding for the Food Safety Modernization Act;
  • National Science Foundation (FDA) – will receive $7.344 billion, about $172 million over FY 2014 ( a 2.4 percent increase);
  • Department of Energy Science Research – is funded at $5.1 billion, the same as FY 2014;
  • USDA Research – the National Institute of Food and Agriculture is funded at $1.3 billion and the Agriculture Research Service is funded at $1.1 billion; the bill includes $325 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative for competitive grants;
  • Ebola supplemental funding- the bill includes $5.4 billion in supplemental funding to combat Ebola.

The Office of Public Affairs posts information about research appropriations legislation on the web at http://www.asm.org/policy.

ASM Sends Letter to Congress on Omnibus Funding
On November 12, the ASM sent a letter to Congress supporting the passage of an FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill before the end of the calendar year, rather than passing a continuing resolution based on FY 2014 levels that inadequately support innovation in science and technology. The ASM requested the highest possible FY 2015 funding levels for the multiple federal agencies that provide support for science including basic and applied microbiology: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, Department of Agriculture (USDA) research programs and Department of Defense (DOD) infectious disease programs. ASM said FY 2015 funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must also be increased to protect the nation’s health and security. An FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill that combines all agency appropriations into one bill is preferable to a partial, or full-year, continuing resolution, because it allows for increased funding and program continuity. The ASM letter is available on the ASM’s Public Policy web page at: http://www.asm.org/index.php/publicpolicy-2/statements-testimony/137-policy/documents/statements-and-testimony/93264-fy2015-omnibus.

ASM Signs Letter Regarding FY 2015 DOE Appropriations
The ASM cosigned a letter from the Energy Sciences Coalition urging Congress to complete work on the FY 2015 Appropriations process and to increase funding for critical scientific research supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). The ASM is a member of the Energy Sciences Coalition. To read the letter, go to: http://www.asm.org/images/pdf/ESC-FY15.pdf.

ASM Endorses Letter to the FDA the Regarding Collection and Reporting of Antimicrobial Data
The ASM joined 27 other organizations in sending a letter to Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, regarding implementation of the National Action Plan on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance. The letter requested FDA move quickly to 1) release already collected data on the sales of antibiotics for use in food-producing animals from 2013; 2) make public the FDA’s plans for collecting data on how antibiotics are used on farms; and 3) identify any gaps or barriers to collecting these data. To read the entire letter go to: http://www.asm.org/images/PSAB/FinalDataCollection.pdf.

ASM Attends CLIAC Meeting
ASM staff attended the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) meeting on November 6. This meeting included updates from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Alberto Gutierrez, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health at the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health announced a January 2015 meeting with stakeholders to discuss concerns about the FDA draft guidance on laboratory developed tests (LDTs).   To read more about the other topics covered in the November meeting, please see http://wwwn.cdc.gov/cliac/.  

ASM Staff Attends JHU Public Health Workshop on Ebola
On October 14, the “Dean’s Symposium on Ebola: Crisis, Context and Response” was held at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Speakers included Michael Osterholm, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), University of Minnesota, Peter Jahrling, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Integrated Research Facility, Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland Secretary of Health & Mental Hygiene, and Nancy Kass, Deputy Director for Public Health, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University. You can view the event videos here http://www.jhsph.edu/events/2014/ebola-forum/.  

ASM Meets with Officials from WRAIR
On December 4, Ronald Atlas, Chair of the Public and Scientific Affairs Board, Kenneth I. Berns, Chair of the PSAB Committee on Biodefense and Janet Shoemaker, Director, Office of Public Affairs visited the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). The representatives from ASM toured the WRAIR facility and learned about WRAIR program areas including Viral Diseases, Bacterial Diseases, the U.S. Military HIV Research Program and the Military Malaria Research Program. Following the tour they met with WRAIR Commander, COL Steven Braverman.

 ASM Meets with NSF BIO Assistant Director
On December 11, Timothy Donohue, ASM President, ASM, Ronald Atlas, Chair of the Public and Scientific Affairs Board, Charles Rice, Chair, Committee on Agricultural and Food Microbiology, Janet Shoemaker, Director, Office of Public Affairs and Meghan O’Brien, Manager, Public Affairs met at the National Science Foundation (NSF) with James Olds, Assistant Director, Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO); Jane Silverthorne, Deputy Assistant Director for BIO; Sonya Mallinoff, Senior Advisor, Planning, Analysis and Operations for BIO and Charles Liarakos Senior Advisor for Strategic Planning, Policy and Analysis. The meeting focused on microbiology and funding for research within BIO as well as ways that the ASM could continue to work with the NSF to support microbiology research and development. Dr. Olds was appointed in September (http://nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?org=BIO&cntn_id=132477&preview=false).

ASM Attends December CCCLW Meeting
On December 8, Janice Matthews-Greer, member of the PSAB Professional Affairs Committee, represented the ASM at the Coordinating Council on the Clinical Laboratory Workforce (CCCLW) meeting in near Chicago, IL. CCCLW is currently focusing on the value of laboratory testing in patient outcomes. The CCCLW is a coalition of laboratory organizations working together to ensure a high quality workforce and ASM is one of nearly 20 long term members. You can read more about their past projects by going to http://www.ccclw.org/default.html.

ASM attends FDA Anti-Infective Drugs Advisory Committee Meeting
ASM staff attended the December 4 meeting of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Anti-Infective Drugs Advisory Committee. FDA officials focused on the history of antibacterial drug development, current approaches to unmet medical need, statistical considerations in evaluation of unmet medical needs and trial considerations. Later, members of the public addressed the committee and several stakeholders, such as the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the American Thoracic Society presented before the committee. To see the materials from this meeting, please go to http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/Drugs/Anti-InfectiveDrugsAdvisoryCommittee/ucm385739.htm

Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter
The December issue of the Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter has been published by the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities. To read the newsletter, go to: https://www.asm.org/index.php/publicpolicy-2/newsletters/minority-microbiology-newsletter/135-policy/documents/newsletters/minority-microbiology-mentor-newsletter/93335-mmm-12-14.

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