06.07.16

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Supports Bipartisan Provision to Prevent the Addition of Red Tape to Defense Medical Research

Provisions included in the National Defense Authorization Act would strangle the Department of Defense’s Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program with red tape that would slow or halt research aimed at combating diseases and conditions that affect service members and their families

The Baldwin-supported amendment would nullify the red tape provision and allow the DOD’s medical research program to continue conducting life-saving research 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today cosponsored a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prevent additional regulations and red tape from being added to the Defense Department’s medical research program.

Since 1992, Congress has provided more than $11.7 billion to researchers in universities, businesses, and laboratories all across the country to conduct life-saving research on numerous diseases and conditions that impact military members, veterans, and their families. However, provisions included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would strangle the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) with red tape that would slow or halt research aimed at combating diseases and conditions that affect service members and their families, including traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress. The Baldwin-supported provision would nullify the red tape provisions and allow the DOD’s medical research program to continue conducting life-saving research.

“Our servicemembers, military families and veterans are facing the difficult challenges of physical injuries, disease, addiction, PTSD, and mental illnesses,” said Senator Baldwin. “The Department of Defense’s Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program has conducted life-saving medical research specifically aimed at combating diseases and conditions that impact our servicemembers and their families. This bipartisan provision would ensure that this important research is conducted free of red tape that would jeopardize the health of military families and veterans.”

In Wisconsin, Congressionally-Directed Medical Research includes work on traumatic brain injury, wound care and treatment, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Between 2011 and 2014, researchers in Wisconsin have received 26 awards totaling over $21 million.

Senator Baldwin joined U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Harry Reid (D-NV), Roy Blunt (D-MO), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Ed Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in introducing the provision.

Senator Baldwin is a longtime supporter of DOD-funded research and has helped secure funding through the appropriations process for CDMRP research into various diseases and illnesses, including Gulf War Illness, non-opioid pain management, antibacterial therapeutics, neurofibromatosis, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer and breast cancer, among many others.

Congressionally-Directed Medical Research: Success Stories

  • CDMRP research has advanced our understanding of traumatic brain injury and how to treat it. This includes two FDA-cleared devices to screen for TBI, a blood test to indicate potential brain injury, and better ways to identify different types of post-traumatic stress.
  • CDMRP research also led the development of Herceptin, which has become a standard of care for the treatment of breast cancer.
  • Multiple sclerosis occurs at higher rates in the military than among civilians. CDMRP research has funded significant advances in early-detection techniques and is making progress on potential treatments targeting nerve receptors.
  • Incidents of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) are also higher among military veterans than the general population. CDMRP research has identified a number of promising ways to restore mobility and clinical trials in this area are currently underway.
  • DoD has funded two FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of prostate cancer, and is currently funding or collaborating in phase-3 clinical trials for seven other therapeutic candidates for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.
  • The Gulf War Illness Research Program focuses on improving diagnosis and treatments for the complex set of Gulf War Illness symptoms and underlying causes. Studies indicate that more than one-quarter of the 700,000 U.S. Warfighters who served during the 1990-1991 conflict continue to experience symptoms associated with their deployment.