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Advocacy at a Glance

February 27, 2015

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.

  • Sign Up for Alliance Lobby Day on March 18. In past years on Lobby Day, we have managed to visit 50 or more offices to promote understanding of FDA’s resource needs. While a number of other offices are targeted, the primary focus of Lobby Day is the authorizing committees and House and Senate leadership. FDA is an area where bipartisan compromises still seem possible, legislation has moved, and there are at least five major new laws since 2009. It is important the authorizers are educated about FDA’s resource needs. Our visits also serve to highlight the opportunity for authorizers to be talking with appropriators about the increasing responsibilities the agency has taken on. To sign up for morning or afternoon meetings (or both), please e-mail Tony Curry.
  • FDA Testifies before House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee Next Week.   In what may be her last opportunity to testify on FDA Appropriations, FDA Commissioner Hamburg will testify in front of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on March 4 at 10 a.m. in Rayburn 2362-A. This is discussed further in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Congress Back from the Brink on Homeland Security Funding and Immigration. At press-time on Friday, it looks like the House and Senate will agree on a 3-week continuing resolution to assure that the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t have to shut down this weekend. Beyond that, House Speaker John Boehner has indicated that the House will not back down from adding immigration amendments to the funding bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been candid that he cannot get 60 votes (maybe not even 50) for anything but a clean appropriations bill through the end of the fiscal year. Thus far, nothing of substance has been resolved between House and Senate and there is not an obvious pathway to a compromise by March 19. As described here, this is the first of several “fiscal cliffs” that Congress will face this year — where fundamental differences separate the two Houses and the lack of agreement has immediate and serious consequences.
  • FDA Safety Over Sequestration Act Reintroduced. Representatives Anna Eshoo and Leonard Lance have reintroduced this legislation, which did not move forward in the last Congress. The bill’s purpose is to permanently prevent sequestration of industry-paid FDA user fees, as occurred in 2013. While funds were ultimately restored, that was never assured and there were significant program disruptions. The legislation makes clear that tapping user fees does not contribute to the purpose of sequestration, which is deficit reduction. According to various media reports, a broad base of patient and industry groups are supporting the legislation.
  • Progress on Regulatory Science and Food Safety. FDA, CDC, and USDA have worked together to develop a report describing an improved methodology for analyzing outbreak data from four well-known sources of foodborne illness. This is not only noteworthy because of its contribution to food safety, but also for its level of cooperation among the three agencies on a tricky data question that is important to all three.

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