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Advocacy at a Glance

December 6, 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.

  • Possible Budget Deal in Sight.   According to multiple news reports, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) are moving towards a short-term deal to set the top line discretionary spending number for the rest of Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, and possibly for FY 2015.   The two lawmakers- — co-chairs of the bicameral Budget Conference Committee — have been negotiating this week, and if they reach a deal legislation could move in each chambers’ floor next week.  A key factor in the potential for a budget deal is the lack of appetite from House Republicans for another shutdown.  Key outside conservative groups who encouraged the government shutdown in September/October have been largely quiet, and are not aggressively pushing for another shutdown. Further insights on the prospects and implications of a budget deal are contained in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • A Sequester in 2014 Would Be Worse Than 2013. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, there are four reasons sequestration would be worse in 2014: (1) the sequester makes larger cuts in 2014 than it did in 2013; (2) many of the cuts that were legally made in FY 13 have not actually been implemented yet; (3) one-time fixes that mitigated sequestration’s worst impacts in 2013 cannot be used again in FY 14; (4) sequestration made cuts to little-noticed but critical functions of government — cuts that will be particularly devastating if they are not reversed.
  • Congressional Letter to Budget Conferees: Make Clear that User Fees Should Not Be Sequestered. A letter developed by Representative Michael Honda (D, CA) and signed by 22 members of Congress urged budget negotiators to remove user fee programs such as FDA’s from the threat of sequester.
  • FDA Busy With Cutting-Edge and New Initiatives. The FDA has released its new National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, described here, and open for public comment until December  18. In addition, upon the President’s signature of the Drug Quality and Security Act, FDA moved immediately to issue three new guidances affecting drug compounding, described here. Also this week, CDER released its 5-year strategic plan. While these are, by themselves, tangential to the Alliance’s mission, they represent important reminders of FDA’s critical role in technology development and in assuring  safe and effective medical products.
  • Are Americans Supportive of Sequestration and Across-the-Board Budget Cuts? No! New polling data from Research!America makes clear that a plurality and, in some cases, a majority of Americans are committed to a larger federal role in medical research, innovation, and global leadership in the knowledge and products that improve health.

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