As the 117th Congress comes to a close, the fog of urgency seems to be settling on the Hill. Congress is weighing the options to fund the Federal Government for FY23 and meanwhile in the process, NAVREF along with the FOVA Coalition are advocating Congress to meet the recommended $980 million for the VA research program. As a note, the House passed the recommendation of $926 million.
The current continuing resolution, which keeps funding at FY 2022 levels, fails to keep pace with biomedical inflation and impedes VA research in all priority areas, including preventing veteran suicide, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, precision oncology, and other conditions with increased incidences in veterans.
A meaningful funding increase in FY 2023 for the VA research program would enhance the investment in veteran-centric research on a trajectory of meaningful growth above inflation, allowing for sustained support for efforts to address long-term health impacts of COVID-19, health disparities, and increase clinical trials access, while renewing support for groundbreaking programs like the Million Veteran Program (MVP), VA’s participation in the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, and research on chronic and emerging needs of our nation’s veterans. Increased funding for the VA research program will also support researchers as they recover from slowed research progress during the pandemic and allow for additional investments to support the strained IT capacity through computational science purchases to enhance the collection and use of big data. Sustained and predictable funding growth for VA research is imperative to help ensure the best return on investment in improving the health of veterans and all Americans.