Congress Set To Deliver $2 Billion Increase In Funding For Medical Research For 2nd Consecutive Year; Restore Year-Round Pell Grants

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander Tuesday said the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill increases funding for breathtaking advances in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $2 billion for the second consecutive fiscal year. The bill also restores year-round Pell Grants.

“This bill provides a major boost for programs like the Cancer Moonshot to speed cancer research, the Precision Medicine Initiative to develop treatments and cures tailored to a patient’s genome, and the BRAIN Initiative to help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s. This legislation helps deliver on the promise of the 21st Century Cures Act – which was the most important legislation of the last Congress according to Majority Leader McConnell – by delivering a boost of funding for the National Institutes of Health, or as Dr. Francis Collins calls it, the National Institutes of Hope,” Senator Alexander said.

Additional funding for Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative and the BRAIN Initiative was authorized by Congress in last year’s 21st Century Cures Act sponsored by Senator Alexander. The $2 billion increase for the NIH included in the Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill, supports an increase for the National Cancer Institute of $176 million, an increase for the Precision Medicine Initiative of $120 million and an increase of $110 million for the BRAIN initiative to improve our understanding of the brain and to prevent diseases like Alzheimer's.

Senator Alexander continued: “The bill also restores year-round Pell grants, helping an estimated one million students take the opportunity to graduate sooner and with less debt, which is the most important news for college students from Congress so far this year. I’m urging my colleagues to pass this legislation this week.

“The Senate Appropriations Committee has strongly supported biomedical research at the NIH by recommending $2 billion increases to the NIH for two fiscal years in a row. This is one of my top priorities, along with funding for the national laboratories, national defense, and national parks. Those who are as concerned as I am about our out-of-control federal debt should know that this spending is not the part of the budget driving the federal debt. This one-third of the budget which is called discretionary spending is rising at about the annual rate of inflation. It’s the other two-thirds of the budget—called mandatory entitlement spending—that’s skyrocketing out of control.”

The Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill continues delivering on the $352 million innovation fund at NIH that was passed by Congress in December. Specifically, the NIH innovation fund includes $300 million for the Cancer Moonshot, $40 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, $10 million for the BRAIN Initiative and $2 million for regenerative medicine using adult stem cells.

"Forward" Group Meetings For Bereaved Spouses Begin Feb. 10

"Forward" is an ecumenical group which offers mutual support for those who have lost a spouse.  First-Centenary United Methodist Church in downtown Chattanooga will host a new small group, seven sessions in all, beginning Saturday, Feb. 10 from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m., in the church parlor.  These groups offer space for the newly and sometimes not so newly bereaved to share ... (click for more)

Morning Pointe And Parkridge Launch "Caregiver Cafe" Series

The Morning Pointe Foundation and Parkridge Health System announced the “Caregiver Café” series to explore the psychological impact of caregiving, as well as healthy ways to cope while caring for someone who is living with memory loss and aging. Experts from Parkridge Medical Center and Parkridge Valley Hospital will lead the four-part series which begins in January and continues ... (click for more)

Woman Who Took Truck Driver's Blood At Tragic Wreck Scene: "It Was Like Nothing Had Happened"

The woman who took a blood draw from a Kentucky truck driver who had just wrecked and claimed six lives said, "I was thrown by his demeanor. It was like nothing had happened." Lisa Martin told a jury from Nashville on Monday afternoon that Benjamin Scott Brewer kept asking when he could go home. Brewer was eventually allowed to leave, but was later charged and is facing trial ... (click for more)

Police Report Says Man Shot On Wilkes Avenue Was Running From Deputies

A police report says a man who was shot on Friday on Wilkes Avenue was running from deputies at the time. Kenneth Charles Rogers was taken to the hospital after being shot, but he has now been moved to the Hamilton County Jail. Rogers, 52, of 2306 Barbara Lane, Soddy Daisy, is charged with violation of an order of protection, resisting stop and frisk, and evading arrest. Authorities ... (click for more)

General Bell: This Government Shutdown Is Outrageous - And Response (2)

The day before yesterday two Army Apache Attack Helicopter pilots were killed in a crash during training at Fort Irwin, Ca.  The pilots and their unit were preparing for a future deployment to combat operations.    As a result of the government shutdown, none of the spouses or families of these pilots will receive a dime from the United States Government in immediate ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Making A Difference

It was about 50 years ago when the late writer Loren Eiseley penned an essay called “The Starfish Thrower” so it’s been one of my favorite stories for almost as long. It tells about a man who walks up to a young boy on a beach, this just after a strong storm had washed hundreds of helpless starfish onto the shore. The boy was picking up the stranded starfish and, one at a time, ... (click for more)