Cancer Groups Lobby Against Proposed Spending Reduction
Cancer researchers and advocacy groups have begun a "last-minute lobbying push" in Congress to prevent the passage of a proposed $40 million spending reduction for cancer research, "the deepest cut in federal research funding in a generation," the Baltimore Sun reports (Rockoff, Baltimore Sun, 3/30).
In his FY 2007 budget plan, President Bush proposed to reduce spending for the National Cancer Institute by 0.8%, or $39.4 million, to $4.75 billion (California Healthline, 2/14).
As part of the lobbying effort, cancer researchers and advocacy groups held a rally on Tuesday and plan to call and e-mail lawmakers, Wendy Selig, vice president for legislative affairs at the American Cancer Society, said.
The lobbying effort has highlighted potential developments in cancer research that the proposed spending reduction could affect.
"We're not just saying we need more" cancer research funds, Ellen Sigal, founder and chair of Friends of Cancer Research, said, adding, "We're talking more tangibly about what's been accomplished and what's at stake."
However, the lobbying effort "faces uncertain prospects in a tight fiscal climate," the Sun reports.
Bush administration officials said that the proposed spending reduction for cancer research would allow the federal government to focus on higher priority issues, such as preparations for a potential avian flu pandemic or bioterrorist attack.
"We had to make hard choices -- hard choices about very well-intentioned programs," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said (Baltimore Sun, 3/30).