The House of Representatives passed an amendment authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) to boost Lyme disease research funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just before the end of the July session.
“My amendment adds $4 million, for a total of $20 million, for Lyme disease research at the CDC for FY 2021. Just three years ago CDC’s Lyme budget was only $11.7 million,” said Smith, a longtime leader on Lyme as co-chair of the bipartisan Lyme Disease Caucus in Congress with Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN). “The increase in funding achieved through my amendment will help CDC develop better diagnostic tests for Lyme, expand tick surveillance activities across the US and strengthen the federal government’s overall strategy to combat Lyme.”
Rep. Peterson, is the lead Democrat cosponsor of the Smith Amendment which has also been cosponsored by Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Max Rose (D-NY), and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).
Smith said the increased funding, which passed July 30 is “good news” for the estimated 800,000+ people in New Jersey who have contracted Lyme over the past 20 years. New Jersey has one of the highest amounts of Lyme cases in the nation.
Pat Smith (no relation to Rep. Smith), President of the Lyme Disease Association, a leading national Lyme advocacy group founded in 1991 and headquartered in Jackson, NJ, said Rep. Smith’s funding amendment is an important step in the fight to reign in Lyme disease.
“The rising case numbers and increasing spread of tick-borne diseases are alarming and require a sustained focus from Congress to try to control this epidemic,” said Pat Smith.
“We are grateful to Congressman Smith for his continued dedication to this effort and his success along with his colleagues to acquire an additional $4M in funding for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. In these difficult times for our country, that is an outstanding accomplishment,” she said.