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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Urges Congress to Finalize VA Research Bill by Year’s End


    Christa Wagner, Manager, Government Relations
    For Media Inquiries

    On Dec. 9, the AAMC led a letter signed by nearly 90 professional academic, medical, and scientific societies; health professions schools and teaching hospitals; health and patient advocacy groups; and veteran-focused associations urging Senate Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee leadership to work to pass the VA Infrastructure Powers Exceptional Research (VIPER) Act of 2021 (H.R. 5721) by the end of this calendar year. The legislation passed the House of Representatives on Nov. 17 under suspension of the rules.   

    The VIPER Act aims to improve the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research program by formally authorizing VA’s Office of Research and Development, allowing critical research affiliations between VA medical centers and specific partner organizations to continue without disruption, waiving Paperwork Reduction Act requirements for VA research, and expanding hiring authorities for additional research occupations to enhance the diversity and scientific expertise of the VA research workforce. The AAMC previously joined other members of the Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research executive committee in endorsing the legislation [refer to Washington Highlights, Nov. 5, 2021].  

    “In order to best support the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research program, we urge your swift action to pass the VIPER Act this Congress to increase the breadth of research opportunities and avoid harmful disruptions and potentially premature terminations of research studies,” the letter stated.  

    “We are pleased that Congress has worked over the last several years in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to support robust funding growth for VA research, and passage of the VIPER Act is critical to preserve and enhance the research program’s return on Congress’s investment,” the letter concluded.