Lobbying for the Treatment of Aging Leads to a Congressional Caucus for Longevity Science

For those who believe that only governments get things done, it is frustrating to see the lack of interest in human longevity in politics, a mirror of the relative lack of interest in society at large. The past few decades have seen a number of political initiatives, largely the formation of lobbying campaigns and organizations, aimed at diverting more public funding into aging research. Little has been achieved to date as a result, but these efforts are now growing alongside the new longevity industry.

Politicians pay attention to the movement of money in the world, for the obvious reasons; they are nothing if not self-interested. Thus, as recently noted, the US Congress now has a longevity caucus. A cynic might believe that the timing of such a thing has a lot to do with the high-profile, large investments into rejuvenation biotechnology made in the past year, such as the $3 billion for Altos Labs. Politicians taking a stance in public, in effect announcing themselves to be the destination for campaign donations from those interested in further lobbying on this topic, tends to happen in the wake of sizable flows of funding in industry. We might see it as the next step along the long road to changing priorities in public funding of science.

Personally, I see lobbying as a waste of funds and time that might have used in more productive endeavors. Governments are the last to the table in any new field, and most of what they do when they do arrive is wasted, funding siphoned off by the politically connected into work that bears little resemblance to the original goal. The actually important work of building new therapies occurs as a result of philanthropy to fund the research, and venture capital to fund development: that is the way matters have progressed for therapies to slow or reverse aging, in any case.

Pushin' The Envelope: The First Longevity Caucus Launches

Although investments from the private sector are at all-time highs and foundations such as Hevolution and Impetus Grants are committing millions of dollars to aging research every year, the amount of funding that longevity and other preventative healthcare organizations receive is still a far cry from the more traditional fields of medicine. For context, when picking apart the 2023 Presidential Budget Request, a rough measure showing how much government capital is provided to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and more specifically to the National Institute of Aging (NIA), we found that only 0.54% of the entire NIH annual budget request was dedicated towards Aging Biology.

This week, A4LI, a 501c4 non-profit proudly announced the launch of the Longevity Science Caucus - an initiative, years in the making, to help educate members of Congress about the growing field of longevity biotech and promote initiatives aimed at increasing the healthy average lifespan of all Americans. While there are numerous ways Congress can help propel this industry forward, such as making an easier FDA approval process specifically for longevity medicines, the newly launched caucus will primarily focus on increasing funding efforts to start.

Bilirakis and Tonko Kick Off Longevity Science Caucus

Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) are proud to announce the formation of the Congressional Caucus for Longevity Science. The "Longevity Science Caucus" aims to educate Members about the growing field of aging and longevity biotechnology, and promote initiatives aimed at increasing the healthy average lifespan of all Americans. Along with Bilirakis and Tonko, Representatives Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) are founding members of the newly created caucus. "Increasing life expectancy and promoting positive health outcomes are important priorities, and the formation of this caucus is an important step toward achieving those goals. I believe in promoting individual responsibility and supporting innovation in the pursuit of scientific discoveries that will enable Americans to live happier and longer lives. I am honored to co-chair this bipartisan effort with my colleague, Congressman Tonko. We will work with our colleagues in an effort to make a significant impact on the future health and wellness for our constituents."