Action Alert: Remind Your Senator to Fund CHD Research

Act Now! Encourage your Senator to support CHD Research.
A quick email could make all the difference.

Senator Durbin is sending around a letter to all the Senators asking for support for full funding of the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act in the FY2023 Budget.

Congress has been given permission to fund $10M each year for CHD research and data collection at the CDC, but it is currently funded at only $7.25M. The FY2022 budget passed last week included only a slight increase from $7M. But there is still more money that they can approve.  As they work on the 2023 budget, we are asking Congress to fund the full $10M they are allowed to spend.

Encourage your Senators to sign this Dear Colleague Letter before the May 16 deadline. Here’s how:

  1. If you don’t already have the contact information from previous experience, you will need to get the website and phone number for their Washington D.C. office.
  2. Check their website
    • If the website has a contact form you can cut and paste the sample email language into that form.
  3. Call their office
    • You can leave a message with the kind folks at the front desk.
    • You can ask to speak with the person who handles health issues using the sample script below
    • You can ask for the direct email of the person who handles health issues and send an email using the sample script below.
  4. Celebrate with us! 
    • Email and let us know you reached out to your legislators, and certainly keep us posted if they respond!!

Sample Email:

“Dear Senator ABC,
Congenital heart disease, or CHD, is the most common birth defect.  Funding research to save lives matters to me. Please sign the Dear Colleague letter recently circulated by Senators Durbin and Young in support of fully funding CHD research and data collection as authorized by the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act. To sign on, email before the Monday, May 16 deadline.

Thank you,


For your information, here is the text of the letter that Senator’s Durbin and Young are championing:

Dear Chair Murray and Ranking Member Blunt:

As you begin consideration of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations bill, we write to thank you for the $250,000 increase in FY 2022.  We also respectfully request that the Subcommittee build on its longstanding support of congenital heart disease (CHD) research, surveillance, and awareness initiatives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with a $10 million appropriation. 

Congenital heart defects are the most common and deadliest birth defect.  There are an estimated 2.4 million Americans living with CHD.  Every 15 minutes a child is born with a heart defect, and one in 20 children with CHD will not see their first birthday.  Early detection of CHD can be lifesaving, and significant strides in screening and treatment have been made—90 percent of youth with CHD live into adulthood.  However, even for those who receive an early diagnosis and successful surgery, there is no cure.  Children, adolescents, and adults living with CHD require lifelong, specialized cardiac care and face increased risk of disability, co-morbidities, and premature death.  Hospitalizations for CHD total $6.1 billion annually.

Investments in the CDC’s work have helped to improve understanding and care of CHD in newborns.  These activities have led to improved screening rates and identified certain lifestyle and health conditions before pregnancy that have been linked to a higher risk of giving birth to a child with CHD.  Coupled with investments at the National Institutes of Health in improved newborn interventions, CHD patients are surviving and living longer.  To reflect this growing population of adolescents and adults living with CHD, Congress passed the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act (P.L. 115-132) to expand CDC’s activities by collecting longitudinal data on CHD survivors across the lifespan and to conduct awareness and outreach activities. 

Building on the FY 2022 appropriation level of $7.25 million, we are requesting full-funding at the authorized level of $10 million for FY 2023 to support the CDC in working to address the lifelong needs of the growing CHD population and educating patients to help improve health outcomes and reduce medical costs.  Thank you for your continued commitment to programs that improve our nation’s public health and outcomes for many diseases and disorders, including congenital heart disease.



Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator


Todd Young

United States Senator

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