The Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research (FOVA) executive committee sent a letter on Nov. 16 to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders urging swift enactment of an $840 million appropriation for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical and Prosthetic Research program, as included in the House-passed fiscal year (FY) 2021 spending bill. The AAMC convenes the FOVA coalition.
The letter was delivered following the Nov. 10 release of Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans’ draft FY 2021 spending bills, including a proposed $800 million appropriation for the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research program as part of the draft Military Construction, VA, and Related Agencies bill [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 13]. This Senate proposal would flat-fund the VA research budget in FY 2021.The federal government is currently funded at FY 2020 levels under a continuing resolution (CR) through Dec. 11.
“The coronavirus pandemic continues to place an unprecedented burden on medical researchers, including at the VA. … The additional uncertainty and delayed funding created by [CRs] jeopardizes VA’s ability to enter into long-term research commitments and slows the translation of research findings into high-quality and timely health care services for veterans,” stated the executive committee.
“Continuing funding at FY 2020 levels, whether through a CR or adopting the Senate’s FY 2021 proposal, fails to keep pace with biomedical inflation and would impede VA research in all priority areas. … We urge Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to finalize and implement a meaningful increase in VA research in FY 2021 so veteran-centric research can continue without interruption,” the letter concluded.