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Advocacy at a Glance

November 15, 2013

Advocacy at a Glance offers you the bullet point summary of current advocacy issues associated with the goals of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA.

  • House-Senate Budget Conference Committee Reconvenes.   On Wednesday, the House-Senate Budget Conference Committee held its second meeting to work on a fiscal blueprint to attempt to resolve the budget and appropriations stalemate.  House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R, WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D, WA) serve as co-chairs of the 29-member committee composed of seven House members (four Republicans and three Democrats) and the complete Senate Budget Committee (12 Democrats and 10 Republicans). The House and Senate budget plans for FY 2014 discretionary appropriations are still $91 billion apart.  At the meeting, the conference committee received a fiscal update from Doug Elmendorf, the director of the Congressional Budget Office.  The consensus view is that any breakthrough will come from private negotiations between House budget committee chair, Paul Ryan, and Senate budget committee chair, Patty Murray. The area of most immediate public speculation involves the potential  for closing tax loopholes as a way to raise revenue and returning FY 14 discretionary spending to their FY 12 level.
  • Appropriators Urge Budget Conference to set Spending Limit for FY14 and FY15.  The Chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees this week continued to urge that setting the spending levels for the current fiscal year and fiscal year 2015 should be the conference committee’s “first priority.”  In an October 31st letter to members of the conference committee, Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers and Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski requested that the conferees strive to set this topline number by November 22, saying additional time to work on critical appropriations bills would result in a “much better product.”
  • NDD United Releases New Report on the Impact of Austerity. Even before the Budget Control Act of 2011 and certainly since, a broad swath of  programs that rely on discretionary federal funding had been cut sharply and millions of Americans have been hurt in the process. A new report from NDD United — Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure — provides program-level details on Washington’s failure to protect the programs that keep Americans healthy, safe, and educated. The public health section starts on page 87.

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