Congressman Thomas J. Rooney

Representing the 17th District of Florida

Rooney Spearheads Advocacy, Awareness Through Critical Funding for Lupus Research

Jul 12, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL) secured nearly $9 million for lupus research in the 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill, which was reported out of the House Committee on Appropriations late Wednesday, capping off nearly a decade of work in Washington to further research and promote awareness about lupus.

“I know firsthand what it’s like to feel powerless and confused by lupus, having lost my cousin Kathleen to the illness,” Rooney said.  “My family struggled to understand this unpredictable and cruel disease – and I know this is a feeling so many other people and families in our country feel, too – which is why funding research and awareness efforts has been one of my biggest priorities during my time in Congress.”

The 2019 Fiscal Year Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill contains over $56 million for the Office of Minority Health, which includes $2 million for the National Health Education Lupus Program. The legislation also provides $6.5 million for the Center for Disease Control’s National Lupus Patient Registry, which focuses on determining prevalence and incidence of lupus, raising awareness of the disease and reducing diagnosis time.

In 2012, Rooney co-founded the Congressional Lupus Caucus and currently serves as a caucus co-chair. The Caucus ensures that members of Congress, advocacy groups, and constituents have united forum to voice their concerns, share breakthroughs in innovative therapies and stress the prevalence of lupus nationwide. Since 2012, Rooney’s work on the Appropriations Committee has helped advance initiatives inching researchers one step closer to finding a cure.

“With continued funding for lupus research, it is my hope that one day, no one else will have to endure a life with lupus,” Rooney said. “I know all too well how devastating lupus can be – and that’s why funding like this matters so much.”