To the Congress of the United States:
Enclosed is the "Third Report of the National Heart and Lung Advisory Council," prepared in accordance with the requirement of section 418(b) (2) of the Public Health Service Act.
The National Heart and Lung Advisory Council has again prepared a thoughtful Report that addresses a number of important research policy questions. With regard to the recommendations and conclusions in the Council's Report, some recommendations are in accord with the Administration's views (e.g., the need for evaluation of pilot programs) and other recommendations are at variance with Administration policy (e.g., the budget recommendation and recommendations dependent on the Council's recommended budget).
The Council recommended funding levels without full knowledge of the competing needs of other high priority programs. Therefore, it is not surprising that the budget recommendations of the Council considerably exceed those of the President's 1977 Budget, which must take fiscal constraints and competing national needs into consideration. It should be noted that the budget for the National Heart and Lung Institute has increased greatly in recent years: from $195 million in 1971 to a potential of $370 million in 1976.
In addition, these fiscal concerns were recognized in H.R. 7988, "Health Research and Health Services Amendments of 1976", which I recently signed into law. The Congress authorized appropriations at a considerably lower level for FY 1977 than was recommended by the Council.
The Administration recognizes the accomplishments of the National Program as outlined in the Council's Report, and continues to view the heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood program as an area of high priority. The Report of the Council is being carefully studied and evaluated. I am forwarding the Report so that it is available to the Congress for its deliberations.
GERALD R. FORD
The White House,
May 19, 1976.