Reps. Maxine Waters, Chris Smith Seek Increase in Funds for Alzheimer’s Research in Final FY 2015 Budget Package
Reps. Maxine Waters, Chris Smith Seek Increase in Funds for Alzheimer's Research in Final FY 2015 Budget Package
December 4, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Last night, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Congressman Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), the Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, sent letters to House Appropriations Committee leaders requesting an increase of at least $100 million in the final Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget package for the National Institute on Aging (NIA), in order to provide additional resources for Alzheimer's research. Identical letters were sent to Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers; Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey; Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston; and Labor, HHS and Education Subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro.
The text of the letter follows:
"As you work with your Senate counterparts to assemble a final Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 spending package, and as House Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, we are writing to ask you to consider increasing funding for the National Institute on Aging (NIA). We also ask that you include in any final package the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS & Education's language on Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease in the U.S. is at crisis proportions. As our population ages, the number of persons affected by this brain disorder are expected to triple by 20501. The costs associated with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are also growing at an unsustainable rate. A recent RAND study of adults ages 70 and older found that the total economic cost of dementia in 2010 was estimated to be $109 billion for direct care — higher than heart disease and cancer — and $159 billion to $215 billion when the cost of informal care is included2.
Increasing funding for NIA will provide the Institute with additional resources to meet these challenges head on and enhance our chances of meeting the goals articulated in the bipartisan supported National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, which calls for a cure or effective treatment by 2025. In an effort to meet this goal, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS & Education approved a budget for FY 2015 that calls for an additional $100 million in funding for NIA. NIA, along with other institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are supporting a number of promising Alzheimer's disease research projects, including cutting-edge "prevention" trials that are studying whether or not the disease can be prevented or slowed substantially by administering treatments earlier in the disease process.
Including at least the additional $100 million for the NIA that was recommended by the Subcommittee in the final budget package for FY 2015 will provide vital resources to support meritorious Alzheimer's disease research projects. This action will also demonstrate further resolve in support of our national priority of eradicating this insidious brain disorder.
The Subcommittee also included language directing NIH to submit a professional judgment budget for Alzheimer's disease research. As cosponsors of the Alzheimer's Accountability Act (HR 4351), we believe that unfiltered information specifying the resources necessary to meet the goals and objectives laid out in the National Plan would provide Congress with a valuable tool for setting research and service priorities.
We understand the challenges you face in finalizing the FY 2015 appropriations package and appreciate your consideration of this request, which will provide hope to the five million Americans living with dementia, their families, and their caregivers."
 Alzheimer disease in the United States (2010–2050) estimated using the 2010 census, Neurology (March, 2013).
2 Monetary Costs of Dementia in the United States, N. Engl. J. Med. 2013; 368:1326-1334 (April 4, 2013)