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Although the government shut down on October 1, we didn't stop pushing for policy that benefits colorectal cancer. Read this update to find out what we've been up to in the last month. If you're interested in receiving more updates, please join the Fight Colorectal Cancer Advocates group on Facebook
AACR Rally for Medical Research
On September 18, Emily White, Program Coordinator, attended the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)'s Rally for Medical Research. Over 250 people attended, representing a total of 40 states. The focus of the rally was "Cures not Cuts" and attendees were encouraged to ask legislators to include NIH funding in their letters to appropriations staff.

Emily represented her home state of South Carolina and attended meetings with Rep. Tim Scott's staff and Rep. Mark Sanford's staff. The meetings were productive, and while both Congressmen are opposed to spending increases, both were supportive of our efforts and look forward to meeting with us at the 2014 Call-on Congress. (For information about registering, scroll to bottom).

While on the Hill, Emily also attended a Senate Cancer Coalition forum hosted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), which discussed cancer research.
Fight CRC Leads the Charge to Protect DoD Colorectal Cancer Research
On October 19, Fight Colorectal Cancer led a coalition of colorectal cancer stakeholder organizations. We initiated a sign-on letter to Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) asking them to commit to keeping colorectal cancer eligible for research funding under the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP).

As reported in previous Fight Colorectal Cancer advocacy updates, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a FY 2014 Department of Defense (DoD) spending bill that includes $25 million for the PRCRP - a $10 million increase over the FY 2013 level. The bill, however, omits colorectal cancer as eligible for PRCRP research funds.

On September 18, Fight Colorectal Cancer met with House DoD Appropriations Republican staff. Staff expressed confidence that colorectal cancer would be retained as a cancer eligible for PRCRP funding during House-Senate negotiations over the spending bill. However, confidence does not equal a guarantee so Fight Colorectal Cancer, with the help of its advocates, will need to be vigilant. Watch for updates in the weeks ahead on how you can help.

The wildcard in our PRCRP lobbying efforts is whether Congress can reach a grand budget deal. If it cannot, it puts the DoD, as well as other federal agencies, at risk of operating under a continuing resolution (CR) for all of FY 2014. Under a CR, the PRCRP, as well as other Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRPs), are at risk of not being funded unless the CR contains guidance directing the DoD to spend money on the CDMRPs. This is because the CDMRPs are not a funded line item in the president's budget, but rather added by lawmakers during the appropriations process.
New H.R. 1070 Cosponsors
H.R. 1070, the "Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act" has three new cosponsors: Reps. Kathy Castor (D-FL), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) and John Tierney (D- MA). This brings the total number of cosponsors to 41. Keep up the pressure. If your representative has not yet cosponsored H.R. 1070, ask again. To find out if your member is a cosponsor, go to www.thomas.gov and search the bill number.
Shutdown and Debt Ceiling Deal Offer Brief Respite
At the eleventh hour, Congress voted on October 16 to end the federal government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. All eyes are now turned to a House-Senate Budget Conference Committee that will try to reach a deal on a spending plan by December 13.

Both the House and Senate have passed their own budgets, but there has been no attempt until now to reconcile their differences. Without bicameral and bipartisan agreement on a budget, Congress may find itself in another federal shutdown when the current continuing resolution keeping the government funded at fiscal year (FY) 2013 post-sequestration levels ends on January 15.

Fight Colorectal Cancer will closely follow these negotiations and keep you posted of noteworthy developments. The most critical aspect of these negotiations is whether agreement can be reached to end sequestration. Without an end to sequestration, it will be nearly impossible avoid cuts to federal cancer programs.
Shutdown May have Lasting Impact on Research
Washington may have breathed a collective sigh of relief with the reopening of the federal government, but those in and around Washington, D.C. speculate that the latest shutdown and another looming fiscal deadline will have lasting effects on our nation's research and public health enterprises.

Just this week, National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Harold Varmus, MD, issued a memo to the NCI research community stating that even with the reopening of the government, the NCI's grant review cycle could be "significantly delayed, threatening a smooth restart of NCI's support of extramural research." Budget unpredictability and reductions in federal funding are increasingly putting NIH research grants out of the grasp of young investigators, driving researchers into the private sector, to other countries, or out of the field of research altogether.

Like cuts to research funding, the shutdown could have lasting effects. The 16-day shutdown may leave data gaps in research that was underway when the shutdown began. Disruption in clinical trials during the shutdown coupled with continued budget unpredictability may also deter patients from enrolling in clinical trials or long-term research projects. Both the short- and long-term effects of the government shutdown make one thing clear, it is time for the congressional budget process to return to regular order which means the annual passage and reconciliation of a budget, committee mark- ups of annual spending bills, and meeting fiscal deadlines.
Secure a Proclamation Declaring March as CRC Awareness Month
I'm sure you've all seen lots of pink this October in honor of breast cancer awareness month. Did you know that March is colorectal cancer awareness month?

Join us and Colon Cancer Alliance as we partner to have all 50 states recognize March 2014 as colorectal cancer awareness month with our campaign titled "Blue Star States."

Visit www.FightColorectalCancer.org/StateProclamation for the tools you need! Simply download, edit, and submit the cover letter and sample proclamation to your governor's office requesting that he/she declare March 2014 as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Don't forget to keep us updated on your progress!
Register for Call-on Congress!
March 2014 will be here before you know it! This year we are hosting Call-on Congress in Alexandria, VA on March 16-18, 2014.

Go to
online to register now!

Learn more about Call-on Congress.