Monday, May 23, 2016

Senate Bill Threatens Neurofibromatosis Research

Over the past few weeks, we here have the Gazette have been bringing you stories about a little known condition known as Neurofibromatosis (NF). A condition that currently has no known cure.  Today, we are looking at the possibility of Congress hindering research of finding a cure.
We were first made aware of this in emails and Facebook postings from Neurofibromatosis Networks that we are members of.
The Senate will soon consider the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (S. 2943). The Senate bill includes language that, if passed, would severely restrict the types of medical research that could be funded by the Department of Defense and would serve a devastating blow to NF research. Contact your Senators and urge them to oppose Sections 756 and 898 of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.
This got us thinking, so we began to explore these two sections to see what they said.
Sec. 756. Prohibition on conduct of certain medical research and development projects.
Sec. 898. Improved transparency and oversight over Department of Defense research, development, test, and evaluation efforts and procurement activities related to medical research.
- GovTrack 

However, some that do not suffer from any of the medical conditions affected by research by the Department of Defense, has a different view.  For them, like the Heritage Foundation  , it is just dollars and cents, not real lives.
The Defense Department has the largest research and development budget of the federal government, equaling roughly $70 billion a year. While the vast majority of this amount goes toward developing advanced military systems or technologies that have battlefield applications, each year, the DOD spends money on various projects that have no reason to be funded from the defense budget. In many cases, these projects are already being funded by other federal departments. Congress is unfortunately a significant part of the problem. Congress regularly adds hundreds of millions of dollars to research unrelated medical issues or popular agenda items, like alternative energy, that are not related to the combat mission of the military. Congress should preserve DOD research funds for efforts that directly impact the military mission.
- Heritage Foundation

In their eyes, it's not related to defense, so it has no need to be researched. At least not by the defense department. Their opinion posted online lacks the compassion that one should consider in an issue such as this.

It is the opinion of this paper and the owners that every avenue should be taken to find cures diseases currently being researched by the Medical Research arm of the Department of Defense, including NF.  We would like to encourage you to use the following link to send an email/letter to your senator

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