BCERA Goes to the Floor, and the Battle Continues

At the conclusion of NBCC’s Lobby Day on Tuesday, April 29, with hundreds of breast cancer survivors from across the country watching from the Senate Gallery, Senator Harry Reid offered the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (S. 579) for passage and debate on the Senate Floor, saying, “Too many women and their families have waited too long for Congress to act…. It is time to offer more than words of encouragement to those affected by breast cancer…this legislation gives them hope that something can be done to find a cause and hopefully a cure.” After Senator Reid’s offer, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) objected.

NBCC’s president Fran Visco noted: “The Majority Leader has vowed to get this bill passed this year, and he has on two occasions brought it to the Floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote, and each time one Republican Senator stopped the bill from moving forward. We thank Senator Reid for his leadership, determination and persistence. NBCC is confident that he will be successful in overcoming this barrier so that this important bill can be passed this year.”

BCERA has overwhelming bipartisan support. In addition to Senator Reid, 68 Senators have signed on as co-sponsors. The House companion bill, H.R.1157, also enjoys strong bipartisan support and has 260 co-sponsors. The bill would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services, working through the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to develop a national strategic approach to addressing the environmental links to breast cancer through peer-reviewed grants to collaborations of institutions and community groups. Specifically, $40 million per year in Fiscal Years 2008-12 would be authorized for this purpose.

The pressure of 600 breast cancer advocates on Capitol Hill on Tuesday helped compel Majority Leader Reid to bring BCERA to the Senate floor for a second time within a month. Unfortunately, even with hundreds of advocates watching from the Senate gallery, the opposition remained undaunted and Senator Coburn objected to moving forward with the bill. We have a tough battle ahead of us to pass this important piece of legislation that would increase funding to examine the link between breast cancer and the environment. It will take significant resources to increase our efforts, and we need your support. Please make a gift to NBCC to help us continue to mobilize breast cancer activists around the nation to speak up and speak out to end breast cancer. Click here to donate now.

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