Legislative updates — “Save the Prevention Fund” and Great Apes

The Science Government Relations Office is following summer progress on the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act and the Great Ape Protection Act

August is usually a slow month in Washington since Congress is in recess. But some legislation, or at least advocacy for legislation, progresses. Here is information about two bills that the Science Government Relations Office is keeping an eye on this summer.

As the Senate prepares to take up H.R. 5297, the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, Sen. Michael Johanns (R-NE) is planning to offer an amendment that would use the $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund, newly created in the Affordable Care Act, to offset the proposed repeal of a program that was expected to generate revenue.  APA and other associations that advocate for public health programs are opposing this amendment and have cosigned a letter (PDF, 71.6 KB) urging that the fund be used for its intended purpose. Watch your e-mail for action alerts or other information about this legislation in the next couple of weeks.

A second issue is the Great Ape Protection Act, which was introduced in the House last year. A companion bill, S. 3694, was recently introduced in the Senate by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). APA opposes this legislation, which would ban all biomedical research with bonobos, gorillas, gibbons, orangutans and chimpanzees. This bill would not only prohibit research that would benefit humans, such as research with chimpanzees on hepatitis C, but would also prohibit research that would benefit the apes themselves. While it is considered unlikely that either the House or Senate will have time or make it a priority to act on this bill during the few remaining days of the legislative session, APA and other research advocacy organizations are monitoring this bill carefully.