1. The NIH Budget -- Mr. Natcher finished his Subcommittee markup Thursday, September 5th. Naturally we are having great difficulty
in getting the exact figures because Natcher does not want to release them until they go to the full Committee which will
not be for a week or two. However, from what staff leaks I have already obtained, NIH will have 6,000 regular research grants.
This is 200 grants less than the 6,200 which we finally got in the Supplemental Appropriations Bill for Fiscal 1985, which
ends September 30th. Natcher and Early are now working on the compromise which will add another 200 grants for just the fiscal
1986 year. This is still really miraculous, considering the fact that in February of this year the President recommended
5,000 research grants for NIH.
Senator Weicker will probably markup his Subcommittee bill during the week of September 9th when the Senate returns from its
protracted recess. Weicker will naturally scrap for the highest amount possible for NIH.
2. We are making amazing Progress in setting up a Committee on Cholesterol. We now call if Citizens for Public Action on Cholesterol.
I enclose the first Fact Sheet which will be sent out in the next several weeks, identifying our new interest. Merck has
agreed to a jazzy color booklet to gain us quick attention. We have received enormous support from Dr. Tony Gotto, who will
head up our Medical Advisory Committee. Jerry Wilson and I will be seeing Dr. Gotto when he comes to Washington on September
24th. At that time, we hope to finalize the membership of the Medical Advisory Committee.
We would very much like you to be Honorary President of the Citizens for Public Action on Cholesterol. Mike DeBakey will be
Chairman of the Board and Tony Gotto will head up the Medical Advisory group. We will try to develop an imposing letterhead.
Our main problem is, as always, finances. There are only four companies which have cholesterol lowering drugs at the present
time and only Merck is in the big leagues. Merck will give us considerable help, but we desperately need additional funds
on the order of several hundred thousand dollars.
When I saw you the day after the Lasker Jury Award Meeting, you mentioned your friendship with Edwin Whitehead, the wealthy
gentlemen who is the founder of The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. With his deeply impressive background in
technology, combined with the fact that the Whitehead Institute at MIT has a nice budget of $135,000,000, it would be really
wonderful if Dr. Gotto and/or Mike DeBakey and I could have a meeting with him at the Foundation Offices. We have a fantastic
story to tell in our planned campaign against the biggest killer in this country.
3. We are still plugging along in our long-term endeavor to establish a National Arthritis Institute. The bill has passed
both the House and the Senate, but no conference has been set up as yet, despite all of our strivings. The Congress seems
preoccupied with the deficit, trade imbalances, South Africa, and so forth. However, we are determined to pass this legislation
during the 99th Congress. In that connection, I enclose a recent letter to Henry Waxman which again attempts to push that
gentlemen into action.
4. On Tuesday evening, September 10th, we will celebrate the 85th birthday of our dear and mutual friend, Claude Pepper. I
presume that you have been invited and hope that you can come. He is an amazing individual and he has been extra-ordinarily
helpful to me these past few years in his position as Chairman of the House Rules Committee.
I do hope that things go well with you. I think of you often and miss seeing you.