Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan joined the Lyme Caucus yesterday.

The caucus is a bi-partisan group working together in Congress to take action on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.  Under the leadership of Chris Smith (NJ) and Colin Peterson (MN), it has initiated letters and actions to benefit Lyme patients, such as the inclusion of the monies for Lyme and tick-borne diseases into the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) and language and Lyme monies into Appropriations over the years and has initiated favorable legislation.  Additionally, it has queried government agencies over policies not favorable to patients.  This has reminded the agencies that someone is looking over their shoulder.  Many meetings have been held and educational sessions in DC for Congress.

With nearly 400,000 new cases of Lyme Disease per year, and Wisconsin ranking 6th in the nation, this is an important issue to Wisconinites.  There are nearly 20 tick-borne diseases (and counting) being spread by at least 8 different ticks (and counting) with 30% of reported cases occurring in children between the ages of 0-19.  

In 2015, the caucus secured for the first time ever, $5 million in funding in the House Appropriations Committee annual military spending legislation, which was adopted in the Fiscal Year 2016 funding bill which was signed into law, and will provide resources for Lyme disease research through DOD’s innovative, high-risk, high reward program.

In December of 2016, the United States House of Representatives passed, and former President Obama signed, the 21st Century Cures Act.  The Cures Act included language, similar to a bill that Rep. Smith introduced previously, which created the Interagency Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Working Group.  Specifically, the Working Group is comprised of federal and non-federal members tasked with reporting to Congress on scientific advances, research questions, surveillance activities and emerging strains in species of pathogenic organisms.

For more see:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/12/14/21st-cca-signed-into-law/  Bill language is included at the bottom of the article.

Please contact your WI representative and ask them to join the Caucus.  Let’s represent Wisconsin well:  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/WI