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The Friday Update — November 20, 2009

November 28, 2009


The Alliance for a Stronger FDA has recommended that FDA receive a $500M increase for FY 2011.

Last week, I focused on why the FY 11 budget cycle might be rough for FDA. Specifically:

  • a number of unfunded mandates are in legislation that is moving forward ($300M is not an increase if the agency gets $400M in new responsibilities),
  • FDA could get lost in the funding and implementation of health care reform, and
  • FY 2011 will be a year of budget-cutting with the President already having asked Cabinet Secretaries to submit budgets that are flat-funded or have a 5% decrease from FY 20 10.

 This week, I will focus on what the Alliance will be doing to assure that FDA gets a large increase.

Reinforce and Strengthen Relationships with Key Lawmakers. In January and February, the Alliance visits with staff of every Member who is on the House or Senate Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee. We follow that with meetings with a large number of other appropriators. By the time we reach the Alliance’s Lobby Day in late March/early April, we will be focused on, House and Senate authorizers, leadership, and a few remaining appropriators. We are in continuous contact with the staff of the chair and ranking members of the appropriations subcommittee.

Re-energize Media that the Fight for a Stronger FDA is Not Finished. Throughout the last three years, media have been important communicators of FDA’s needs and have highlighted many areas where additional resources are needed. Reporters are like Members of Congress: after some success, they tend to view a problem as solved. Our efforts in 2010 will be made easier by an FDA that appears to be communicating better. However, only we can hammer at the resource issues embedded in almost everything FDA does.

Broaden our Coalition to Show the Continued Importance to All Stakeholders of a Stronger FDA. We have had about 180 members for most of the last two years. The enormity of this is starting to wear off on the Hill and media. We need to add at least 30 to 50 members over the next 3 months to freshen our assertion that all FDA stakeholders are part of our efforts. I think we should try to reach 250 members to put an exclamation point on the Alliance’s breadth and depth of participation on behalf of FDA funding.

To help these efforts, we will be working on new advocacy materials for the FY 11 appropriations cycle. There will also be a better designed and more current website. We expect the Alliance’s metrics project will be rolled out over the first half of the year, demonstrating the impact of new monies appropriated over the last three budget cycles. As always, we will be a resource for you, our members, as well as the Hill, the media and FDA.

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.  The Friday Update and the Grossman Analysis will return in two weeks. In the interim, don’t hesitate to contact Ladd or me if you have needs.

Note: This analysis and commentary is written by Steven Grossman, the Deputy Executive Director of the Alliance.


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