The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders and its grassroots arm, the Digestive Health Alliance, have scheduled next Tuesday, June 12, 2012 as Congressional Call-In Day for this year. U.S. citizens with IBS and/or other functional GI disorders and their families and friends are all urged to contact their members of the federal House of Representatives by phone or email on the same day to urge support of HR 2239, the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act, which has been under consideration in Congress since June 2011. The coordination of many voices on the same time will create a more unified and noticeable impact on ongoing advocacy efforts.
HR 2239 is currently supported by 11 members of the House of Representatives from both political parties and 8 states. They are lead sponsor Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5) and co-sponsors, Representative James Moran (D-VA-8), Representative Peter Welch (D-VT), Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA-24), and Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL-2), Representative Tammy Baldwin, (D-WI-2), Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY-22), Representative Nan Hayworth (R-NY-19), Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI-4), Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-7) and Representative David Price (D-NC-4).
HR 2239 needs the support of 218 members, a simple majority of the House, by December 2012 to pass during this Congressional session. If it does not, because the upcoming 2012 elections will change the composition of legislators, the new Congress being seated in 2013 will have to reintroduce the Act under a new bill number and the functional GI community will need to begin the process of gathering co-sponsors anew. While it is not unusual for any type of legislation to require several years and multiple Congresses to pass, the IBS/functional GI disorders community’s consistent public advocacy can raise awareness and perhaps accelerate the process. It is IBS Impact’s understanding that HR 2239 is “revenue neutral” legislation, meaning that no new spending or taxes will be added. By passing this Act, Congress can direct the U.S. National Institutes of Health to allocate to functional GI and motility disorders discretionary funds that already exist within the NIH budget.
U.S. citizen readers, if you have not yet contacted your Representative or you contacted him or her some time ago without securing his or her official co-sponsorship, IBS Impact encourages you to do so on Congressional Call-In Day. If you are represented by a Member of Congress who already supports HR 2239, as listed in the second paragraph of this post, please take the opportunity to say thank you on that day, Tuesday, June 12.
Click on the following link to visit DHA’s website page for Congressional Call-In Day. For the latest HR 2239 update on this blog please see the April 20, 2012 post Background information and links on HR 2239 can be found in the July 6, 2011 post. For those who would like to share a Congressional Call-In Day graphic with family and friends on social media, or print it out to distribute or hang, at the request of and with the permission of IFFGD/DHA, IBS Impact has uploaded the official DHA graphic to the photos section of the IBS Impact Facebook page where it can be downloaded or shared easily.