ACTION ALERT: Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2017 (HR 1187)

March 21, 2017

In early March 2017,  the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) publicly made known that the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2017, also known as HR 1187 was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on February 16, 2017.  HR 1187 addresses public awareness efforts and research funding for functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders like IBS, as well as improved efforts at coordination of research efforts and prescription drug approval among federal entities and the functional GI and motility disorder community.

This is similar to the bill that was known in the 112th Congress in 2011-2012 as HR 2239, in the 113th Congress in 2013-2014 as HR 842 and in the 114th Congress as HR 2311. Because the composition of Congress changes with each federal election, it is not unusual for legislation that does not pass to be reintroduced in future sessions under different bill numbers depending on the date of introduction.

IBS Impact thanks IFFGD  for its ongoing work of many years in bringing this bill to fruition, and urges readers who are U.S. citizens to advocate for this landmark legislation on behalf of people with IBS and related disorders. As with the previous versions of the Act, HR 1187, was introduced by Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5) as the initial sponsor. On March 13, 2017, Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI-2), a co-sponsor of HR 2311 in the previous Congress, became the first co-sponsor of HR 1187.

Past versions of the Act have been supported by both political parties and it is a revenue-neutral bill, meaning no new spending or taxes are involved. However, through this legislation, Congress can direct the National Institutes of Health to allocate existing discretionary resources specifically to IBS and other functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders, such as GERD, gastroparesis, chronic idiopathic psuedo-obstruction, functional dyspepsia, short bowel syndrome, Hirschsprung’s disease, cyclic vomiting syndrome, chronic bowel incontinence from various causes, and many others, which collectively affect about 25% of Americans. Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common of these. NIH grants funding to researchers throughout the world, not just in the U.S., so in the long run, enactment of this Act may also benefit readers with IBS in other countries. Medical research often involves multinational teams of scientists, and in any case, study results are usually published globally, adding to cumulative scientific knowledge among professionals and public awareness of various conditions worldwide.

In order to pass the House of Representatives in this Congress, HR 1187 needs support from 218 Representatives, a majority of the House, by the end of the current 115th Congress in December 2018. During 2011-2012, the previous bill received sponsorship or co-sponsorship from 17 Representatives in 12 states and both political parties, in 2013-2014, 20 Representatives from 13 states and both political parties, and in 2015-2016, 13 Representatives from 7 states and both political parties. Some are no longer members of the House of Representatives, but IBS Impact hopes that previous cosponsors who are still in office will continue their support and encourage their colleagues to sign on as well. Now affected people and our supporters must show Congress that this is important enough to pass and enact.

For more information, see IFFGD’s link at: https://iffgd.org/advocacy-activities/congressional-bill.html
The text of the bill, the current status and cosponsors can also be accessed directly at any time through its official Congressional database entry at Congress.gov. If you do not know who your Representative is, you can look up this information by entering your zipcode in the “Find Your Representative” search box with the white U.S. map graphic near the top right corner of your screen at house.gov. In some zipcodes, different areas fall into two or more different Congressional districts, in which case you will then be prompted to enter your exact street address to determine the correct district.

Clicking on your Representative’s name will take you to his or her official House website, which will have contact forms, links or details. If you already know who your Representative is, you can generally find the website by typing his or her name into any Internet search engine. Because modern security procedures for postal mail may result in significant delays, legislators generally prefer to hear from constituents through email/website contact forms or telephone. If you choose to call, it is preferable to ask for the staff person in charge of health issues, but if he or she is not available, you may leave a message or speak to the person who answers your call. Many legislators also have social media accounts.

Your specific personal experiences as a person with IBS and/or other functional gastrointestinal disorder or a family member, friend or professional who supports us, and how HR 1187 is needed are most effective in communicating that we are real people behind the statistics. However, even a polite general request can demonstrate to your Member of Congress that there are many constituents interested in the swift passage of this Act.

When writing and/or calling, be sure to state your name, where you live in the Congressional district and that you are a constituent. Tell briefly why you are interested in HR 1187 so they know who you are and why the bill is important– such as have had IBS for X years, have had difficulty finding adequate relief or have a family member with IBS, etc. If you are prepared with a few reputable facts and details about IBS in general to show that this is a widespread issue, not just your personal problem, these also help in showing credibility on the issue. The IFFGD link above has some suggested talking points.  Familiarity with your Representative’s record on or interest in other health issues may also help,  but if you do not know these things, telling your own experience is fine. Be sure to say thank you. Then pass the word to family, friends, coworkers or classmates who have been supportive of you with your IBS. Keep in mind that because of the 2016 elections and redistricting, you may have a different Representative than before, even if you have not changed your residence.

Please sign your real full name, physical address and email address if you choose to write,  or give this information to the staff member you speak to you choose to call on the telephone. Most offices will request it near the end of the call so that they have a record of callers and issues discussed. This is important so that Congressional staff members know that you are actually a constituent and potential voter in their district. Many legislators do not accept communications from those outside their own districts. They may also wish to respond to you, although it may take several attempts to attract attention or some time to receive a reply. Please contact only your member of the U.S. House of Representatives at this time. The President, Senators, Governors or other state or local officials do not have any control over this part of the legislative process.

You do not have to be an excellent writer or speaker, just one that your Representative and his or her staff will see as a real person with real issues and real needs, not a “canned” request copied and pasted from somebody else’s letter. Keep your message short– one page or less in writing, or a phone message or conversation of a couple minutes.

This is a major opportunity for the IBS community and its various websites, groups and organizations to come together, regardless of political or philosophical differences, make our needs known, and do something to make our lives better in the future. Self-advocacy to get legislation enacted takes time, effort and patience, but it is possible if more people are willing to make noise publicly, as other health and disability groups do.

For all those with IBS who complain that nobody understands and nobody wants to do anything for us, now is your chance to make yourself heard. Some people want to understand and help. Congress has the power to make this bill happen. Each of us has the power to make it happen by coming out of the closet, getting over the embarrassment and asking publicly and persistently for this very specific help. It only takes a few minutes to write an email or pick up the phone. Please do it.


ACTION ALERT: Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2015 (HR 2311)

May 18, 2015

On May 13, 2015, the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2015, also known as HR 2311, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives. HR 2311 addresses public awareness efforts and research funding for functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders like IBS, as well as improved efforts at coordination of research efforts and prescription drug approval among federal entities and the functional GI and motility disorder community.

This is similar to the bill that was known in the 112th Congress in 2011-2012 as HR 2239 and in the 113th Congress in 2013-2014 as HR 842. Because the composition of Congress changes with each federal election, it is not unusual for legislation that does not pass to be reintroduced in future sessions under different bill numbers depending on the date of introduction.

Past versions of the Act have been supported by both political parties and it is a revenue-neutral bill, meaning no new spending or taxes are involved. However, through this legislation, Congress can direct the National Institutes of Health to allocate existing discretionary resources specifically to IBS and other functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders, such as GERD, gastroparesis, chronic idiopathic psuedo-obstruction, functional dyspepsia, short bowel syndrome, Hirschsprung’s disease, cyclic vomiting syndrome, chronic bowel incontinence from various causes, and many others, which collectively affect about 25% of Americans. Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common of these. NIH grants funding to researchers throughout the world, not just in the U.S., so in the long run, enactment of this Act may also benefit readers with IBS in other countries. Medical research often involves multinational teams of scientists, and in any case, study results are usually published globally, adding to cumulative scientific knowledge among professionals and public awareness of various conditions worldwide.

IBS Impact thanks the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders and its grassroots arm, the Digestive Health Alliance, (IFFGD/DHA) for its ongoing work of many years in bringing this bill to fruition, and urges readers who are U.S. citizens to advocate for this landmark legislation on behalf of people with IBS and related disorders. As with the previous versions of the Act, HR 2311, was introduced by Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5) as the initial sponsor. In order to pass the House of Representatives in this Congress, it needs support from 218 Representatives, a majority of the House, by the end of the current 114th Congress in December 2016 During 2011-2012, the previous bill received sponsorship or cosponsorship from 17 Representatives in 12 states and both political parties, and in 2013-2014, 20 Representatives from 13 states and both political parties. Some are no longer members of the House of Representatives, but IBS Impact hopes that previous cosponsors who are still in office will continue their support and encourage their colleagues to sign on as well. Now affected people and our supporters must show Congress that this is important enough to pass and enact.

For more information, see IFFGD’s link at
http://www.iffgd.org/site/about-iffgd/advocacy/bill/
The text of the bill, the current status and cosponsors can also be accessed directly at any time through its official Congressional database entry at Congress.gov. If you do not know who your Representative is, you can look up this information by entering your zipcode in the “Find Your Representative” search box with the white U.S. map graphic near the top right corner of your screen at house.gov. In some zipcodes, different areas fall into two or more different Congressional districts, in which case you will then be prompted to enter your exact street address to determine the correct district.

Clicking on your Representative’s name will take you to his or her official House website, which will have contact forms, links or details. If you already know who your Representative is, you can generally find the website by typing his or her name into any Internet search engine. Because modern security procedures for postal mail may result in significant delays, legislators generally prefer to hear from constituents through email/website contact forms or telephone. If you choose to call, it is preferable to ask for the staff person in charge of health issues, but if he or she is not available, you may leave a message or speak to the person who answers your call.

Your specific personal experiences as a person with IBS and/or other functional gastrointestinal disorder or a family member, friend or professional who supports us, and how HR 2311 is needed are most effective in communicating that we are real people behind the statistics. However, even a polite general request can demonstrate to your Member of Congress that there are many constituents interested in the swift passage of this Act.

When writing and/or calling, be sure to state your name, where you live in the Congressional district and that you are a constituent. Tell briefly why you are interested in HR 2311 so they know who you are and why the bill is important– such as have had IBS for X years, have had difficulty finding adequate relief or have a family member with IBS, etc. If you are prepared with a few reputable facts and details about IBS in general to show that this is a widespread issue, not just your personal problem, these also help in showing credibility on the issue. The IFFGD link above has some suggested talking points.  Familiarity with your Representative’s record on or interest in other health issues may also help,  but if you do not know these things, telling your own experience is fine. Be sure to say thank you. Then pass the word to family, friends, coworkers or classmates who have been supportive of you with your IBS. Keep in mind that because of the 2014 elections and redistricting, you may have a different Representative than before, even if you have not changed your residence.

Please sign your real full name, physical address and email address if you choose to write,  or give this information to the staff member you speak to you choose to call on the telephone. Most offices will request it near the end of the call so that they have a record of callers and issues discussed. This is important so that Congressional staff members know that you are actually a constituent and potential voter in their district. Many legislators do not accept communications from those outside their own districts. They may also wish to respond to you, although it may take several attempts to attract attention or some time to receive a reply. Please contact only your member of the U.S. House of Representatives at this time. The President, Senators, Governors or other state or local officials do not have any control over this part of the legislative process.

You do not have to be an excellent writer or speaker, just one that your Representative and his or her staff will see as a real person with real issues and real needs, not a “canned” request copied and pasted from somebody else’s letter. Keep your message short– one page or less in writing, or a phone message or conversation of a couple minutes.

This is a major opportunity for the IBS community and its various websites, groups and organizations to come together, regardless of political or philosophical differences, make our needs known, and do something to make our lives better in the future. Self-advocacy to get legislation enacted takes time, effort and patience, but it is possible if more people are willing to make noise publicly, as other health and disability groups do.

For all those with IBS who complain that nobody understands and nobody wants to do anything for us, now is your chance to make yourself heard. Some people want to understand and help. Congress has the power to make this bill happen. Each of us has the power to make it happen by coming out of the closet, getting over the embarrassment and asking publicly and persistently for this very specific help. It only takes a few minutes to write an email or pick up the phone. Please do it.


ACTION ALERT: Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2013 (HR 842)

March 2, 2013

UPDATE: 06/13/2015: HR 842 did not pass, but a similar bill, HR 2311, is currently in the House of Representatives for 2015-2016. Please click on the HR 2311 sub-category on the right sidebar of this blog to see the relevant posts.

On February 26, 2013, the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2013, also known as HR 842, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives. HR 842 addresses public awareness efforts and research funding for functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders like IBS, as well as improved efforts at coordination of research efforts and prescription drug approval among federal entities and the functional GI and motility disorder community.

This is similar to the bill that was known in the 112th Congress in 2011-2012 as HR 2239. Because the composition of Congress changes with each federal election, it is not unusual for legislation that does not pass to be reintroduced in future sessions under different bill numbers depending on the date of introduction.

Like the previous bill, HR 842, is supported by members of both political parties and is a revenue-neutral bill, meaning no new spending or taxes are involved. However, through this legislation, Congress can direct the National Institutes of Health to allocate existing discretionary resources specifically to IBS and other functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders, such as GERD, gastroparesis, chronic idiopathic psuedo-obstruction, functional dyspepsia, short bowel syndrome, Hirschsprung’s disease, cyclic vomiting syndrome, chronic bowel incontinence from various causes, and many others, which collectively affect about 25% of Americans. Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common of these. NIH grants funding to researchers throughout the world, not just in the U.S., so in the long run, enactment of this Act may also benefit readers with IBS in other countries. Medical research often involves multinational teams of scientists, and in any case, study results are usually published globally, adding to cumulative scientific knowledge among professionals and public awareness of various conditions worldwide.

IBS Impact thanks IFFGD for its work in bringing this bill to fruition and urges readers who are U.S. citizens to advocate for this landmark legislation on behalf of people with IBS and related disorders. As with the previous bill, HR 842, was introduced by Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5) and is currently cosponsored by Representative James Moran (D-VA-8)  In order to pass the House of Representatives in this Congress, it needs support from 218 Representatives, a majority of the House, by the end of the current 113th Congress in December 2014. During 2011-2012, the previous bill received sponsorship or cosponsorship from 17 Representatives in 12 states and both political parties. Some are no longer members of the House of Representatives, but IBS Impact hopes that previous cosponsors who are still in office will continue their support and encourage their colleagues to sign on as well. Now affected people and our supporters must show Congress that this is important enough to pass and enact.

For more information, see IFFGD’s link at
http://www.iffgd.org/hr842action
The text of the bill, the current status and cosponsors can also be accessed directly at any time through THOMAS, the Library of Congress database HR 842 (2013-2014).

IFFGD has set up a Capwiz alert on its page linked above. Capwiz is a software program commonly used by organizations and advocacy groups to mobilize support for legislation related to their causes. To use this tool, type in your zipcode. In some locations where parts of a single zipcode may fall in different districts, you will be prompted to type in the exact street address. Capwiz will automatically identify the correct Representative for that address and generate a partial form letter composed by IFFGD that explains HR 2239 and asks for the Representative’s support. You will have the opportunity to add comments of your own.

Your specific personal experiences as a person with IBS and/or other functional gastrointestinal disorder or a family member, friend or professional who supports us, and how HR 842 is needed are most effective in communicating that we are real people behind the statistics. However, even a polite general request can demonstrate to your Member of Congress that there are many constituents interested in the swift passage of this Act.

Please sign your real full name, physical address and email address in the Capwiz form prior to submitting your email. A message on that screen states that contact information “will not be used for any purpose other than to identify you to the recipient,” your Representative’s office.  This is important so that Congressional staff members know that you  are actually a constituent and potential voter in their district. Many legislators do not accept communications from those outside their own districts. They may also wish to respond to you, although it may take several attempts to attract attention or some time to receive a reply. Capwiz is quick, easy and safe. However, if you prefer not to use IFFGD’s Capwiz link, you can find your Representative’s contact information on http://www.congress.org or his or her official website by searching his or her name in any Internet search engine. Please contact only your member of the U.S. House of Representatives at this time. The President, Senators, Governors or other state or local officials do not have any control over this part of the legislative process.

If writing or calling directly, be sure to state your name, where you live in the Congressional district and that you are a constituent. Tell briefly why you are interested in HR 842, so they know who you are and why the bill is important– such as have had IBS for X years, have had difficulty finding adequate relief or have a family member with IBS, etc. If you are prepared with a few reputable facts and details about IBS in general to show that this is a widespread issue, not just your personal problem, these also help in showing credibility on the issue. So does familiarity with your Representative’s record on or interest in other health issues, but if you do not know these things, telling your own experience is fine. Be sure to say thank you. Then pass the word to family, friends, coworkers or classmates who have been supportive of you with your IBS. Keep in mind that because of the 2012 elections and redistricting, you may have a different Representative than before.

You do not have to be an excellent writer, just one that your Representative and his or her staff will see as a real person with real issues and real needs, not a “canned” request copied and pasted from somebody else’s letter. Keep your message short– one page or less in writing, or a phone message or conversaation of a couple minutes.

This is a major opportunity for the IBS community and its various websites, groups and organizations to come together, regardless of political or philosophical differences, make our needs known, and do something to make our lives better in the future. Self-advocacy to get legislation enacted takes time, effort and patience, but it is possible if more people are willing to make noise publicly, as other health and disability groups do.

For all those with IBS who complain that nobody understands and nobody wants to do anything for us, now is your chance to make yourself heard. Some people want to understand and help. Congress has the power to make this bill happen. Each of us has the power to make it happen by coming out of the closet, getting over the embarrassment and asking publicly and persistently for this very specific help. It only takes a few minutes to write an email or pick up the phone. Please do it.


U.S. Citizens, HR 2239 for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Research Still Needs Support.

September 12, 2011

UPDATE: HR 2239 did not pass in the 112th Congress. In February 2013, the Act was reintroduced in the 113th Congress as HR 842. Please see the March 2, 2013 post or click on the HR 842 category on the blog sidebar for updated information.

Congress is in session this week after the summer recess. As your Representatives return to Washington, DC, this is a good time to remind them of the need for research on IBS and other functional gastrointestinal or gastrointestinal motility disorders. HR 2239, the Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2011, is currently in the House of Representatives.

This bipartisan legislation’s lead sponsor is Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5) and he has already been joined by co-sponsors, Representative James Moran (D-VA-8) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) If you are a constituent of any of these Representatives, please write or call to thank him for his support.

If you are a U.S. citizen residing elsewhere, and you have not contacted your own Representative yet, or you contacted him/her some time ago without receiving a response, please write or call to urge him/her to co-sponsor this important bill on behalf of people with IBS and/or other functional gastrointestinal or gastrointestinal motility disorders. For more information on this Act and how to help, please see IBS Impact’s previous blog posts from July 6 and August 1. or join IBS Impact.


ACTION ALERT: Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act of 2011 (HR 2239)

July 6, 2011

UPDATE: HR 2239 did not pass in the 112th Congress. In February 2013, the Act was reintroduced in the 113th Congress as HR 842. Please see the March 2, 2013 post or click on the HR 842 category on the blog sidebar for updated information.

This bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 16. U.S. citizens, please contact your Representative now to ask for support.

IBS Impact thanks IFFGD for its work in bringing this bipartisan bill to fruition and urges IBS Impact members and site visitors to advocate for this landmark legislation on behalf of people with IBS and related disorders. The bill was introduced by Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5) and is currently cosponsored by Representative James Moran (D-VA-8) In order to pass the House, it needs support from 218 Representatives, or a majority of the House.

For more information, see IFFGD’s link at
http://www.iffgd.org/site/advocacy/legislative-alerts/action#hr2239
There is also a link there to the text of the actual bill.

To find contact information for your Representative, see http://www.congress.org

Check back on this site or join IBS Impact for updates as they occur.

This is major legislation on behalf of people with IBS and other functional GI or motility disorders (such as GERD, gastroparesis, chronic intestinal psuedoobstruction, functional dyspesia, cyclic vomiting syndrome, Hirschsprung’s disease, chronic bowel incontinence from various causes, and many other disorders that collectively affect about 1 in 4 Americans. IBS is the most common of these.) but it will take time, effort and advocacy from affected people and our supporters to show Congress that this is important enough to pass and enact.

Please write or call your federal Representative (not your Senators, the President, your Governor or other local officials. They have no control over anything that happens in the House of Representatives!) and ask for his/her co-sponsorship of this bill. State who you are and where you live in his/her district. This is very important so the Representative’s staff knows you are a real person and you are actually an eligible voter in that district. They will not pay attention to people who do not live there. Tell briefly why you are interested in this bill, again so they know who you are and why the bill is important– such as have had IBS for X years, have had difficulty finding adequate relief or have a family member with IBS, etc. If you are prepared with a few reputable facts and details about IBS in general to show that this is a widespread problem, not just your personal problem, these also help in showing credibility on the issue. So does familiarity with your Representative’s record on or interest in other health issues, but if you do not know these things, telling your personal experience is fine. Be sure to say thank you. Then pass the word to family, friends, coworkers or classmates who have been supportive of you with your IBS.

You do not have to be an excellent writer, just one that your Representative and his or her staff will see as a real person with real issues and real needs, not a canned request copied and pasted from somebody else’s letter. Keep your message short– one page or less.

This is a major opportunity for the IBS community and its various sites and organizations to come together, regardless of political, philosophical or personality differences, make our needs known, and do something to make our lives better in the future. Self-advocacy to get legislation enacted takes time, effort and patience, but it is possible if more people are willing to make noise publicly like other health and disability groups.

For all those with IBS who complain that nobody understands and nobody wants to do anything for us, now is your chance to make yourself heard. Some people want to understand and help. Congress has the power to make this bill happen. Each of us has the power to make it happen by coming out of the closet, getting over the embarrassment and asking publicly and persistently for this very specific help. It only takes a few minutes to write an email or pick up the phone. Please do it.