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Tonko, Smith Introduce Legislation Researching Alzheimer’s Disease

Bills drive progress on Alzheimer’s & dementia, supporting research and developing new treatments

  • Rep. Paul Tonko

WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Paul D. Tonko (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at prioritizing research on Alzheimer’s disease and supporting scientists in the development of treatments and potential cures. The two bills are H.R. 619, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes the National Alzheimer's Project Act through 2035 to provide a roadmap for federal efforts in responding to Alzheimer’s and dementia, and H.R. 620, the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act that ensures scientists speak directly to Congress on resources they need to effectively treat the disease.

“More than a decade ago, Congress took action to establish a federal plan to address Alzheimer's and dementia, but those essential federal programs to soon set to expire,” Congressman Tonko said. “Congress can and must work to secure these programs for the millions of Americans living with this devastating disease. I urge my colleagues to join in support of our bipartisan legislation and provide a path forward for the scientists and researchers working to face this disease and provide hope to Alzheimer's patients and their families.”

“With 6.5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s, there is an enormous, immediate need for more federal resources and programs to prevent, treat and ultimately find a cure for this devastating disease,” said Rep. Smith. “While real progress has been made and new therapies are advancing to help patients and caregivers, we cannot let up in the fight for improved treatments and a potential cure for Alzheimer’s. Congress must step up its efforts to combat this disease and advance this legislation now to help the millions of Americans coping with Alzheimer’s.”

“Thanks to the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), we’ve made tremendous progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s. But more work remains. The passage of the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act is the next step to continue the critical work of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and ensure that the nation renews its commitment to addressing Alzheimer’s and all other dementia,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “On behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association and AIM, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the bipartisan sponsors for introducing this important legislation to help improve the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s throughout the country. The Alzheimer’s Association and AIM look forward to working with our tireless advocates and congressional champions to advance this bipartisan legislation.”

Representative Maxine Waters is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 619 and 620.

Signed into law more than a decade ago, NAPA requires annual updates to a national strategic plan addressing Alzheimer’s, and is set to expire in 2025. The NAPA Reauthorization Act would extend this plan as well as including: language to address health disparities among underrepresented populations; language adding a sixth goal to that plan on healthy aging and reducing risk factors for dementia; and the addition of new federal representatives to the Advisory Council including from the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Signed into law in 2015, the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act requires scientists at the NIH to submit an annual Alzheimer’s research budget proposal directly to Congress, sidestepping bureaucratic budget procedures. Also set to expire in 2025, the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act extends the bypass budget through 2035.

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