Please--do it now! Call your U.S.
senators about signing the immunization appropriations letter by Friday,
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The 317 Coalition is requesting that people who support the U.S.
immunization program contact their U.S. senators and ask them to
sign on to a letter in support of increased funding for the 317
Program for federal Fiscal Year 2009 (FY 2009). The 317 Coalition
is a national network that advocates for increased funding for
childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization programs.
The text of the coalition's request is reprinted below. The
deadline for your senators to sign on to the letter is Friday,
March 21, so you must contact them before that date.
ACTION ALERT ON NATIONAL IMMUNIZATION FUNDING: We need your help!
Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) have sent a "Dear
Colleague" letter to every member of the Senate asking them to sign
on to a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee to support
increased funding for the 317 Program. Again, the more members of
the Senate that sign on to the letter, the better chance the 317
Program will receive increased funding. Members of Congress are
much more likely to sign on to these group letters if their
constituents ask them to co-sign. [IAC Express editor's note: A
similar effort will occur in the House of Representatives; we will
send out a separate alert after receiving all the necessary
ACTION NEEDED TO CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE SENATE
(1) Call your two senators and ask them to sign on to the attached
letter by contacting Senator Reed's or Senator Gordon Smith's
(2) You should not contact Senators Reed, Gordon Smith, Harkin, or
Specter about this letter, since they are the members sending and
receiving the letter. Also, do not contact Senators Durbin, Dodd,
Whitehouse, Clinton, Levin, or Wyden as they have already agreed to
sign onto this year's letter.
(3) Let them know why increased funding is necessary for your
organization in their city or state. Sample talking points are
(4) Be sure they know the deadline is March 21st.
(5) Feedback: If a Senate office indicates a willingness to sign
the letter, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can
(6) Forward this alert to your members and other organizations with
an interest in this program.
The following are the senators who signed on to the letter last
Sen. Jack Reed – RI
Sen. Gordon Smith – OR
Sen. Dick Durbin – IL
Sen. Maria Cantwell - WA
Sen. Ron Wyden – OR
Sen. Edward Kennedy – MA
Sen. Joe Lieberman – CT
Sen. Jim Webb - VA
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton – NY
Sen. Bernie Sanders - VT
Sen. Jeff Bingaman – NM
Sen. Russ Feingold - WI
Sen. Bob Menendez – NJ
Sen. Chris Dodd – CT
Sen. Evan Bayh – IN
Sen. Carl Levin – MI
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse – RI
CONTACTING A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE
1) The U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 can connect you with your
senator. It is best to call the Washington Office, not the local district
office. If you don't know who your senator is, go to
(2) Ask to speak with the staff person who handles the Health and
Human Services Appropriations for the office (specifically the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--CDC). Purpose is to ask
them to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter on CDC immunization
(3) When you reach the staffer, very briefly identify your
professional affiliation and work related to immunization.
SENATE TALKING POINTS
- I am contacting you to ask that the senator sign on to a Dear
Colleague letter that is currently being circulated by Senators
Reed and Smith.
- The letter is addressed to Chairman Harkin and Ranking Republican
Specter on the Labor HHS Appropriations Subcommittee, and asks for
an increase in funding for the CDC immunization program so that
more underinsured children and adults can receive recommended
- The letter asks that the 317 Program be funded at $802.5 million
in fiscal year 2009, which is an increase of $275 million over the
President's Request and over the FY 2008 level. Currently the
program receives about $527 million in federal appropriations.
- These funds are awarded to states as grants to purchase
recommended childhood and adult vaccines, and provide support for
the infrastructure needed to deliver the vaccinations.
- Your office should have received the Dear Colleague letter from
Senators Reed and Smith. It was sent out March 13th. The closing
date for the Dear Colleague is March 21, 2008. I urge you to ask
your boss to sign this important letter to the Appropriations
- I would be happy to fax or email a copy of the Dear Colleague
letter if that would be helpful. [IAC Express editor's note: For a
copy of the letter, go to:
When emailing, be sure to add a sentence or two about local need
for additional CDC immunization funding.
To access this information online, go to:
To visit the 317 Coalition website, go to:
For legislative updates and other resources, go to:
If your organization would like to become a member of the 317
Coalition, contact Amy Souders, Cornerstone Government Affairs, at