Congratulations to all you Lyme advocates who played a key role in getting historic increases for Lyme disease funding passed by the House and Senate yesterday.  The FY 2021 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which includes a $36M additional Lyme and tickborne funding or $91M total funding, is on to the President for his consideration and signature.

Here’s what happened:

+$10M ($63M total) NEW Lyme Disease line item at NIAID.  The NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases requested an increase from $34M in FY20 to $53M in FY21. While the NIAID budget is almost entirely discretionary, the Senate proposed, and the House approved a $10M mandatory increase on the FY21 budget for Lyme disease making the total $63M.  This mandatory increase is very helpful to our cause because it sets a precedent for an annual line increase that we can work on each year.

+$5M NEW funding for the Kay Hagan Tick Act.  The Kay Hagan Tick Act required the CDC to enhance surveillance (expected to be very poor due to Covid-19 distractions at the state level) and to fund the Centers of Excellence for Lyme and tickborne disease.  This budget was added to the Vector-borne disease line item. While the Kay Hagan Tick Act recommended larger annual funding ($30M per year over 5 years), this initial $5M represents another line item which we work to grow. The good news is that the House-Senate negotiators asked that CDC include an FY22 spend plan for the Kay Hagan Tick Act in their Congressional Budget justification to accompany the President’s FY 22 Budget Request.  This will help create some stability and predictability for the Tick Act.

+$2M ($16M total) for the Lyme disease budget for the CDC.  And additional $2M was added to the CDC Lyme disease budget which will be used for Lyme prevention programs

TBDRP funding held steady at $7M.  While the CDMRP funding for the Tick Borne Disease Research Program did not increase, this important research program with Lyme Community input did not decrease.

In total – the Federal Government plans to spend $91M in FY21 vs. $55M in FY20, a 65% increase in spend on Lyme Disease.  Wow!

This number is a historic increase in funding for Lyme disease and yet we are just at the beginning of our journey.  Thank you all for your support and very important participation and contributions!  The meetings, the letters, the emails and more!  Lyme disease is a team sport!

SAVE THE DATE. Now mark your calendar for February 23 from 3-5pm ET and February 24 from 9am – 5pm ET for our 2021 Lyme Fly-In.  We will now begin work on the FY22 budget.

Stay tuned!  More to come!

P.S. In case you want to read the bills, here you go —

Labor HHS — Page 22 and Page 50

Defense — search for “Peer-reviewed tickborne disease research”

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