Reps. Delgado, Smith, Zeldin Introduce Bipartisan “Stamp Out Lyme Disease Act” to Raise Funds for Lyme Disease Research
RHINEBECK – Today, U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), and Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY-01) introduced the Stamp Out Lyme Disease Act, bipartisan legislation to raise funds for the research and development of treatments for Lyme and tick-borne diseases. The bill would create a postage stamp to supplement congressionally-appropriated research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research treatments for Lyme and tick-borne diseases.
“Lyme disease is an urgent and persistent threat in our upstate New York communities. Ticks and the diseases they carry threaten our health and well-being,” said Rep. Delgado. “This bipartisan legislation will raise awareness about the disease and directly support medical research to treat and cure tick-borne illnesses. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for joining me in introducing this important measure.”
“Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections are exploding in my home state of New Jersey and throughout the country—with the CDC estimating 476,000 new cases diagnosed each year, and 10-20 percent of all patients suffering from chronic Lyme disease,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus. “While the National Institutes for Health (NIH) implements an expansive research strategy to combat Lyme disease, we must do everything we can to call attention to the dangers of tick-borne illnesses. The Stamp Out Lyme Disease Act will help raise public awareness and interest so that people can learn more about Lyme prevention while supporting the NIH with additional resources as it executes its ambitious and necessary plan to combat Lyme disease.”
“Lyme disease is the most common tickborne infection in the US and can be fatal if left untreated. My home state of New York has one of the highest rates of Lyme Disease in the entire nation. Having personal experience with Lyme Disease, I can tell you it is a serious matter that requires our immediate attention. We must do more to advance preventative and recovery efforts for Lyme Disease, which is why I’m proud to work in bipartisan fashion to continue providing the National Institutes of Health with the resources needed for its important Lyme Disease research,” said Rep. Zeldin.
Found in all 50 states, Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose and lacks reliable testing options for diagnosis. As a cure for Lyme disease remains evasive, and the number of annual cases grows, it is critically important that research efforts are well-funded. Rep. Delgado’s bipartisan Stamp Out Lyme Disease Act would commission a postage stamp to raise funds for Lyme disease research, with proceeds going to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Specifically, the funding goes to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This funding would supplement research dollars appropriated by Congress annually.
Effectively addressing Lyme disease requires health, environmental, and research entities to work together. Rep. Delgado has made addressing this disease a priority during his first year in Congress, and during the appropriations process, he successfully amended legislation to increase annual Lyme disease research dollars by $1 million in FY2020. In addition, Rep. Delgado co-sponsored the bipartisan National Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Control and Accountability Act of 2019 which creates the Office of Oversight and Coordination for Tick-Borne Disease within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The office will foster collaboration between various government departments and organizations.
In December 2020, Rep. Delgado voted to pass the bipartisan Consolidated Apportions Act 2021, which included historic new investments in Lyme disease treatment and prevention. This included:
- $10 million increase for the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Disease program. The agreement encourages the promotion and development of potential vaccine candidates for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
- $5 million in new funding for the Kay Hagan Tick Act (P.L. 116-94), to promote a public health approach to combat rising cases of tick-borne diseases. The agreement directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve early diagnosis of Lyme and related tick-borne diseases to prevent the development of late stage disease and more serious and long-term disability.
The total federal investment in Lyme and other tick-borne disease research and prevention was $91 million. This legislation was signed into law by former President Trump.
Delgado has also met with Lyme disease experts and advocates in upstate New York and is also a member of the bipartisan Lyme Disease Caucus, co-chaired by Congressman Smith. The caucus is committed to advancing initiatives designed to help with treatment and prevention of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, as well as educating Members of Congress and their staff on the impact of Lyme disease.