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Advocacy at a Glance

March 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.

  •  Senate HELP Hearing Demonstrates Support for Increased FDA Funding. At the Senate HELP Committee’s hearing on medical innovation, “those testifying all said that FDA needed more resources to meet its increased myriad of responsibilities,” according to FDA Week. For example, Alexis Borisy of Third Rock Ventures stated that “ensuring FDA can hire, retain, recruit and has tools to ensure the organization is best able to carry out its mission” is a priority for medical innovation.
  • House and Senate Pass Budget Resolutions; Conferencing May Be Difficult. The House and Senate both passed budget resolutions this week for the first time in a half dozen years. What they have in common: ability to command a Republican majority of votes. However, there are vast differences in detail that House and Senate will need to work through and compromise upon. It is not clear that they can, particularly before the theoretically-important April 15 deadline for producing an FY 16 Congressional Budget Resolution. To understand better why The Alliance tracks budget policy and politics in its communications, read this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Fiscal Cliffs Update. The House — on a bipartisan vote — passed its Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) fix and extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 2 years. The final bill was not fully satisfactory to either party, but represented a spirit of compromise that has been lacking on big-ticket budget/spending issues. It also raised the possibility that other fiscal cliff items that pop up this year might also be resolved without a showdown. Senators did not act on the bill before going on a 2-week recess. While the Senate is widely expected to accept the House compromise, some Republicans have indicated objections because the costs of the House compromise are not fully offset by savings and some Democrats might object because the CHIP extension is 2 years instead of 4 years.
  • Congress in Recess. House and Senate will be in recess the next 2 weeks. Members will return the week of April 13.
  • Food/Ag Amendments Proposed, But Not Offered During Senate Budget Consideration. As reported in Politico’s Morning Agriculture:

    Among the hundreds of amendments filed in the Senate’s vote-a-rama that extended until nearly 3:30 a.m. this morning, there were several food and agriculture amendments that did not get voted on. Though the budget is non-binding, the votes do offer a barometer of where the Senate is on certain issues. Food safety advocates were hoping a provision sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Food Safety Modernization Act funding would come up for a vote, but they were out of luck. Other amendments that did not get voted on: labeling genetically engineered salmon, returning school meal authority to states, limiting SNAP benefits for “able-bodied” recipients and preserving mandatory spending for conservation programs, among other things.

  • No Friday Update on April 3. There will be no Friday Update information next week. The Friday Updates will resume on April 10.

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