Act now--ask your U.S. representative to sign the "Dear Colleague"
immunization appropriations letter
No government funds have been
used to produce this article.
The Immunization Action Coalition, in conjunction with the 317
Coalition, previously sent readers of IAC Express notification of
two deadlines for contacting U.S. senators regarding funding for
the 2009 immunization program (IAC Express Extra Editions of March
17 and April 2). We had not written about contacting U.S.
representatives because the initial deadline had already passed by
the time IAC received the information. However, the House sign-on
date has been extended to April 11, so you still have a chance to
educate your U.S. representative about the need for increased
immunization funding. As members of the House must sign on to this
appropriations letter by the end of the week, interested
constituents must call or email before Friday.
Note: The 317 Coalition is a national network of more than 150
organizations (http://www.317coalition.org/members) that advocate
for increased federal funding for childhood, adolescent, and adult
Representatives Leonard Boswell (D-IA) and John Shimkus (R-IL) have
sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to every member of the House of
Representatives asking them to sign on to a letter to the House
Appropriations Committee to support increased funding for the
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC--known as "section 317" of the Public Health Service Act. The more
members of the House of Representatives that sign on to the letter,
the better chance the 317 Program will receive increased funding in
the FY 2009 budget.
ACTION NEEDED TO CONTACT MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
(1) Call your representative in the House and ask them to sign on
to the "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter for increased
immunization funding by contacting Rep. Boswell's or Rep. Shimkus'
(2) You should not contact Representatives Boswell, Shimkus, Obey
or Walsh about this letter, since they are the members sending and
receiving the letter. Also, you should not contact the following
representatives (unless you want to thank them), as they have
already attached their names to the letter.
Leonard Boswell (IA)
John Shimkus (IL)
Tom Allen (ME)
Howard Berman (CA)
Earl Blumenauer (OR)
Stephen Cohen (TN)
Gene Green (TX)
Raul Grijalva (AZ)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX)
Mazie Hirono (HI)
Jim McDermott (WA)
Earl Pomeroy (ND)
Nick Rahall (WV)
Bart Stupak (MI)
Henry Waxman (CA)
David Wu (OR)
(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 for adding their signature is
Friday, April 11th.
(5) Feedback: If a representative's office indicates a willingness to sign the letter, let the 317 Coalition staff know by emailing
email@example.com so that they can follow up.
(6) Forward this alert to your members and other organizations with
an interest in this program.
(7) The following are the representatives who have signed on to the
letter in previous years. If your member is listed below and has
not signed on this year, it is especially important that you reach
out to his or her office. See #2 above for a complete list of who
has signed on this year so far.
John Dingell (MI)
Steny Hoyer (MD)
Bob Etheridge (NC)
Dan Lipinski (IL)
Dennis Moore (KS)
Steve Kagen (WI)
Rick Larsen (WA)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD)
Lois Capps (CA)
Chris Van Hollen (MD)
Frank Pallone (NJ)
Eliot Engel (NY)
Donald Payne (NJ)
David Price (NC)
James Langevin (RI)
Charles Gonzalez (TX)
Mike McIntyre (NC)
Michael Michaud (ME)
Jim Marshall (GA)
Tim Murphy (PA)
Brad Miller (NC)
Neil Abercrombie (HI)
CONTACTING A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE
(1) The U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 can connect you
with your representative. It is best to call the Washington Office,
not the local district office. If you don't know who your
representative is, you can go online to http://www.house.gov and
look it up by entering your zip code.
(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 them to sign on to the "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter
on CDC immunization funding.
(3) When you reach the staffer, very briefly identify your
professional affiliation and work related to immunization.
HOUSE TALKING POINTS
I am contacting you to ask that the congressman/congresswoman sign
on to a "Dear Colleague" immunization appropriations letter that is
currently being circulated by Representatives Boswell and Shimkus.
The letter is addressed to Chairman Obey and Ranking Republican
Walsh 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.
A recent CDC report to Congress indicates that close to $1.2
billion is required to fully fund the needs of the program to serve
children, adolescents, and adults.
The 317 funds are awarded to states as grants to purchase
recommended childhood and adult vaccines, and to provide support
for the infrastructure needed to deliver the vaccinations.
Your office should have received the "Dear Colleague"
appropriations letter from Representatives Boswell and Shimkus. It
was sent out March 13th. The closing date for the representative to
sign on to "Dear Colleague" appropriations letter is April 11,
2008. I urge you to ask your boss to sign this important letter to
the Appropriations Committee.
Please contact April Elliott (Boswell) at 5-3806 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Sarley (Shimkus) at 5-5271 or
email@example.com with questions or to add your name to
I would be happy to fax or email a copy of the "Dear Colleague"
appropriations sign-on letter if that would be helpful. [IAC
Express editor's note: For a copy of the letter, go to:
When calling or emailing, be sure to add a sentence or two about
your local need for additional CDC immunization funding.
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Note: Calling your representative is generally more effective than
emailing; however, emailing is better than doing nothing! The 317
Coalition's website includes a form to help compose and send email
messages to members of the House of Representatives. To access it, click
To visit the 317 Coalition website, go to:
For legislative updates and other resources, go to:
The 317 Coalition has 156 member organizations. If your organization isn't a
member, please consider joining today!
No government funds have been
used to produce this article.
The following letter is an invitation for your organization (professional
associations, healthcare provider organizations, health departments, and any
organization or medical practice interested in increasing childhood,
adolescent and adult immunization coverage) to become a member of The 317
Coalition. The letter was written by 317 Coalition steering committee members
Dr. Paul Offit, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Dr. Walter Orenstein,
Emory University; Ms. Amy Pisani, Every Child by Two; and Dr. Deborah Wexler,
Immunization Action Coalition.
March 31, 2008
As Congress begins work on developing next year's federal budget, we are
writing to invite your organization to join "The 317 Coalition" which
advocates for increased funding for childhood, adolescent, and adult
immunization programs. The mission of the 317 Coalition is to focus the
advocacy support of allied organizations with the common goal of increasing
the federal discretionary funding for the National Center for Immunization
and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
commonly known as "Section 317" of the Public Health Service Act. We are
seeking to expand our robust partnership with additional national, state, and
local organizations from all 50 states and territories, including
professional associations, healthcare provider organizations, health
departments, and any organization or medical practice interested in
increasing childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization coverage. There is
no cost to join the Coalition.
This Coalition is solely focused on advocating for increased federal
immunization grants to states and cities. It focuses on helping implement the
policies of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other
relevant policy making bodies. It will in no way make or attempt to influence
As a member of the Coalition you will
Be sent information regarding the
federal budget for the CDC immunization program and updates on the
congressional deliberations and recommendations for appropriations,
Be asked to simply sign on to
letters of support to Congress for increased funding along with other
organizations across the country,
Be sent action alerts asking you
to contact your congressional representatives during the appropriate time
in the congressional cycle if you so wish and are able, and
Be invited to participate in
periodic conference calls to share important information about critical
needs of federal, state, and local immunization programs.
As you may know, the federally
funded 317 program provides vaccination services for children and teens who
do not qualify for the Vaccines for Children program (VFC), as well as
adults. The 317 funds are used to purchase and administer vaccines, usually
at public health departments, and for immunization delivery services,
surveillance, communication, and education.
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Since its inception in 2006, the 317 Coalition has grown to a total of 156
member organizations (46 national and 110 local), representing 45 states.
During the last two appropriations cycles, the Coalition advocated for a
significant increase for the 317 program. Over the last two years, the House
Appropriations Committee recommended increasing the 317 program by $186
million. Unfortunately, this increase was dramatically scaled back in the
final legislation. In fiscal year 2007, the Coalition was successful in
getting a $32 million increase for the 317 program, which was a remarkable
achievement in that only a handful of HHS programs received a funding
increase that year. For the current year (2008), the Coalition was successful
in attaining a $15.5 million increase for the 317 and immunization program
and $19.5 million to increase the demand for seasonal flu vaccine for a total
increase of $35 million in the 2008 omnibus appropriations bill.
At the recommendation of the Coalition, Congress required CDC to develop a
report that indicates the level of funding needed to fully support the
childhood, adolescent, and adult needs of the 317 program. The report was
sent to Congress in March 2008 and it indicates that close to $1.2 billion is
needed to fully fund this important program, compared to the current
appropriation of $526 million. The Coalition's advocacy recommendation is
that Congress should provide $802 million in FY 2009, and appropriate the
additional needed funding in future years. We hope your organization will add
your voice to ours in this multi-year campaign to seek adequate funding for
this critical immunization program.
We encourage you to visit the Coalition's website at
your agency, organization, or medical practice would like to join the
Coalition or request additional information, please contact Michael Kenny,
Cornerstone Government Affairs at (202) 448-9500 or email at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Attached is a
list of our current member organizations [Editor's note: this list can be
viewed online at
Thank you for your dedication to the health and well being of our nation's
people. We hope that you will not hesitate to join our coalition to ensure
access to vaccines for all those served under the 317 immunization program.
Paul Offit, M.D.
Director, Vaccine Education Center
Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Walt Orenstein, M.D.
Emory Vaccine Center
Amy Pisani, M.S.
Every Child By Two
Deborah L. Wexler, M.D.
Immunization Action Coalition
To visit the 317 Coalition website, go to: