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Advocacy at a Glance

August 29, 2014

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 Democrats Urge OMB and HHS to Request Food Safety Appropriations for FY 16, Not Food User Fees. Appropriations committee leaders Rosa DeLauro (D, CT) and Sam Farr (D, CA) have written to the heads of OMB (see here) and HHS (see here) to urge that more appropriated dollars, not user fees, be the focus of the President’s FY 16 request for FDA food safety funding. They stress that the user fees are non-starters and get in the way of necessary increases in funding for the growing FDA responsibilities for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
  • Legislation Restricting Executive Branch Travel Pending in Senate. In the minds of some in Congress, there have been abuses of travel and conferences by executive branch agencies, notably GSA. Rather than dealing with the root causes of each of these situations, the House passed a sweeping bill, HR 313, “The Conference Accountability Act,” and the Senate is considering identical legislation (S. 1347). This legislation is likely to place additional burdens on FDA, NIH, and other public health agencies in participating in scientific conferences and, specific to FDA, serving as part of international regulatory efforts. The Alliance does not take positions on authorizing legislation, but we do ask our members to consider whether they have concerns about this legislation. A sign-on letter is being circulated by Kimberly Miller at the HIV Medicine Association and she would welcome interest from additional organizations.
  • CBO: Discretionary Programs Small and Shrinking Part of Federal Spending. Recent insights from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO): “Discretionary spending makes up only a third of overall outlays and mandatory spending — which includes Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs on scheduled expansion paths — is projected to grow from $2.32 trillion in fiscal 2015 to $3.74 trillion in 2024, a 61 percent expansion that dwarfs the 16 percent increase over that time in discretionary spending. That’s why many budget experts say the entitlement programs need to be overhauled, and benefit growth reduced, before spending on the discretionary side of the budget can be addressed …. Several factors will influence any future deals to raise the [discretionary spending] caps, including an expected rise in the deficit beginning in fiscal 2016, the possibility of a tax or entitlement overhaul that could increase federal revenue and cut mandated spending, and the potential that Republicans could control both chambers of Congress after this fall’s elections.”
  • Partnership for Food Protection Becoming a Reality Under FDA Leadership. The United States has more than 3,000 government agencies (federal, state, tribal, and local) with food safety responsibilities. Coordination is a must to protect the American people and to assure efficient use of resources. On August 12, FDA convened a 50-state conference in St. Louis to further its Partnership for Food Protection initiative. The FDA’s efforts are described in a post on the FDA Voice blog site.

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