Last chance--Thursday, April 3, is new deadline to ask your U.S. senators to
sign the immunization appropriations letter
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In the March 17 IAC Express Extra Edition, the Immunization Action Coalition,
in conjunction with the 317 Coalition, asked readers to immediately call
their U.S. senators about signing onto a letter in support of increased
funding for the 317 Immunization Program for federal Fiscal Year 2009 (FY
2009). Previously, the deadline for senators to sign the letter was March 21.
IT HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO APRIL 4. This means that you need to act immediately
(by the close of business on Thursday, April 3). Please call your senators'
offices to ask them to sign on.
Note: The 317 Coalition is a national network of organizations that advocate
for increased federal funding for childhood, adolescent, and adult
As of April 1, 14 senators had responded to calls from their constituents and
signed the letter. An even stronger show of support is needed. The 317
Coalition is made up of more than 150 member organizations
http://www.317coalition.org/members. We are asking for many more senators to
sign on. THE MORE SENATORS THAT SIGN ONTO THE LETTER, THE BETTER CHANCE THE
317 PROGRAM WILL RECEIVE INCREASED FUNDING IN THE FY 2009 BUDGET.
The text of the 317 Coalition's request is reprinted below. The
deadline for your senators to sign on to the letter is Friday,
April 4, 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. The "Dear Colleague"
appropriations letter is available here:
Again, the more members of the Senate that sign on to this 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 information.]
ACTION NEEDED TO CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE SENATE
(1) Call your two senators and ask them to sign on to the "Dear
Colleague" appropriations letter for increased immunization funding
by contacting Senator Reed's or Senator Gordon Smith's office.
(2) You should not contact Senators Reed, Gordon Smith, Harkin, or
Specter about this letter, since they are the senators sending and
receiving the letter.
The following senators HAVE ALREADY signed on (so you don't need to
call them unless you want to thank them). If your U.S. senators have
not yet signed, please call them ASAP and ask them to sign on by
Friday, April 4.
Sen. Jack Reed – RI
Sen. Gordon Smith – OR
Sen. Richard Durbin – IL
Sen. Ron Wyden – OR
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton – NY
Sen. Bernie Sanders - VT
Sen. Chris Dodd – CT
Sen. Carl Levin – MI
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse – RI
Sen. Joe Biden – DE
Sen. Frank Lautenberg – NJ
Sen. Charles Schumer – NY
Sen. Barbara Boxer – CA
Sen. Debbie Stabenow – MI
Following is a list of senators who signed in support of increased
immunization funding for last year (FY 2008) but who have not yet
signed for FY 2009. If one of these is your senator, please be sure
to call them, as they are LIKELY to sign for FY 2009 if asked to do
Sen. Joe Lieberman - CT
Sen. Jeff Bingaman - NM
Sen. Bob Menendez - NJ
Sen. Evan Bayh - IN
Sen. Maria Cantwell - WA
Sen. Edward Kennedy - MA
Sen. Jim Webb - VA
Sen. Russ Feingold – WI
(3) Let them know why increased federal immunization funding is
necessary for your organization in their city or state. Sample
talking points are below.
(4) Be sure they know the deadline for the senator to sign the
letter is April 4.
(5) Feedback: If a Senate office indicates a willingness to sign
the letter, let the 317 Coalition staff know by emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can follow up.
(6) Forward this alert to your members and other organizations with
an interest in this program.
CONTACTING A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE
(1) The U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 can connect you
with your senators. It is best to call the Washington Office, not
the local district office. If you don't know who your senators are,
go to http://www.senate.gov
(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). The purpose is to
ask the senator to sign onto the "Dear Colleague" letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee on CDC immunization funding.
(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" appropriations letter that is currently being
circulated by Senators Reed and Smith asking for increased
funding for the federal government's immunization program.
- 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
- 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 senator to sign on to "Dear Colleague"
appropriations letter is April 4, 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"
sign-on 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