Happy meteorological spring! It arrived in the Washington area with a refresher course on what winter looks like with a snowstorm hitting early this week, dumping over 18 inches on some parts of the Greater DC metro area. This edition has a summary of our Public Policy Conference plus a lot of information on the sequester and the budget, an upcoming medical research rally the Society is co-sponsoring, a link to a new MS fact sheet by Research!America, and of course information on how (not) devastating the budget situation is on Members of Congress. Be sure to get to the end though – interesting statistic about St. Patrick’s Day.
Rally for Medical Research in DC. The National MS Society is joining with dozens of other groups on April 8 in a rally for medical research funding. Sign up for email alerts about the rally under ‘get involved.’
Federally Funded Research to be made public. The White House announced that research funded with federal dollars will now be made available to the public.
Government Shutdown on March 27 (likely) averted. Before leaving town on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill to extend the temporary spending bill, or continuing resolution (CR) for another 6 months to prevent a government shutdown. The House bill blunts the impact of sequestration on defense spending, and the Senate bill is likely to do the same for non-defense spending, so the extension effort is not a ‘clean’ effort so negotiations will determine whether a shutdown will be averted.
Federal Budget & Deficit Deal maneuverings. President Obama has begun an outreach effort to rank and file members of the House and Senate, going around each chambers leaders to try and find common ground. Obama dined with key Republican senators Wednesday and had lunch with Budget Committee Chairman Congressman Paul Ryan and ranking member Chris Van Hollen on Thursday. Speaker Boehner expressed positive feelings about the outreach. Senator Mike Johanns stated that ‘His goal is ours. We want to stop careening from crisis to crisis.’ Ryan and Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray are the key lawmakers to make a deal happen.
Obamacare notes? The Federal Reserve Beige Book reports that in some areas of the country, the Affordable Care Act is being cited as the reason for some layoffs. And freshman Senator Ted Cruz is renewing the now-pretty-dormant push to de-fund the health law.
The Cuban Missile Crisis ‘myth.’ Yes, this is random, but it caught my eye. A new book explores what went down in the Cuban Missile Crisis based on recordings of actual proceedings, asserting that RFK’s book ’13 Days’ essentially established a myth around the crisis.
St. Patrick’s Day. The National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent around $4.6 billion on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012. The National MS Society spends approximately $45 million per year on research and the federal government spends another $130 million or so. That means that on one day, Americans spend enough to fund the combined Society/Federal government MS research efforts for over 26 years . . . that’s a bit sobering, huh!
Have a great week!