(91outcomes.com) - According to a key staff member in the office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a longtime, leading champion of Gulf War Illness treatment research and other Gulf War related efforts in the U.S. Senate:
Here is what I found in the most recent FY 2011 Omnibus DOD Appropriations currently under consideration.
Provides $8 million for the Peer Reviewed Gulf War Illness Research Program and $3.8 million for the ALS Therapy Development Institute Gulf War Research Project.
This will ensure continued funding at this year’s level, a wonderful outcome that is even more exceptional given the current challenges facing a lame duck Congress trying to get a lot done in a matter of days left before the end of the year.
And, General “Mic” would probably have been pleased to see this continued, designated funding for Gulf War related ALS funding.
So, in total, it appears highly likely that the FY11 funding for Gulf War related research in the CDMRP will be at $13.8 million, as described above. Excellent news!
And, according to another key Hill insider from one of the leading veterans service organizations on this issue:
We have no influence on the current funding levels (they have been set by CBO and will not be impacted).
Putting all of our energy into planning a concerted effort to influence the next Authorization funding cycle will be a much more worthy endeavor.
In everyone’s opinion [on the Hill, this year’s GWI funding level] is set in stone at this point.
As noted in the 91outcomes’ earlier article, the House version already had a provision ensuring that DoD funding continues, for the most part, at FY10 levels. As such, this includes $8 million for the peer reviewed $8 million Gulf War Illness research program.
And, if the Senate should also change course from the proposed “omnibus” appropriations act and move to a “clean” Continuing Resolution like the House has already passed, this will also result in the same funding outcomes for CDMRP Gulf War related health research.
So, good news all around!
Now is the time to begin thinking about preparing for a concerted effort in the next Congress to seek increased funding for DoD-Army-CDMRP GWI research.
Given the possibility of new inter-agency, inter-institution research consortiums being funded, having a coordinated message by all organizations and individuals contacting Congress will be of critical importance.
WHAT NOT TO DO TODAY:
Fragmented messages and random calls by individuals not really clear on what it is for which they’re asking has the strong potential of derailing efforts.
Anything perceived by members and staff in Congress as having a lack of clear unity on a particular issue -- like CDMRP GWI funding -- can lead to lots of calls and confusion and result in that particular issue – like CDMRP GWI funding -- to be left in the “too hard to do” category and left off from funding entirely.
And, the current “CR” and omnibus appropriations bills do not contain “line items” for these research programs – they’re mostly “clean” bills that simply say to continue funding across the board at last year’s levels.
This also means that there is little if any possibility of changing funding from last year’s levels.
WHAT TO DO TODAY:
So for now, individuals interested in contacting their members of Congress should simply say, “thank you” for the continued funding at this year’s level for all programs, including the DoD-Army-CDMRP peer reviewed Gulf War Illness research program.
WHAT TO DO AFTER JANUARY 3RD:
Stay tuned here on 91outcomes for updates on concerted efforts in the next Congress, which begins in January.
It will be important that Gulf War veterans speak with one voice on these critically important issues, particularly with the possibility of a need to fund consortiums with FY12 funding.