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Advocacy at a Glance

April 17, 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.

  • House Ag/FDA Appropriations Subcommittee Appoints Vice Chairman. Following a pattern increasingly common in the House of appointing vice chairman on subcommittees, the House Ag/FDA appropriations subcommittee announced that David Valadao will serve as vice chair. He is from California and a dairy farmer. Representative Valadao will fill in for Chairman Aderholt when the chair is unavailable.
  • New York Times’ April 9 Editorial on Food Safety: A Mixed Blessing. Normally, we would be pleased to see the New York Times editorialize on the need for better funding of food safety at FDA, as it did on April 9. However, the editorial has several errors and, overall, gives a misimpression of the funding situation. Notably, it implies that the Administration request for food safety programs at FDA is $109 million. This, of course, is the proposed increase, not the total appropriation request. The base food safety program in the current year is a billion dollars. Can we suggest a re-do?
  • China Update: Visas Still an Issue.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal’s Pharmalot blog, the FDA continues to have difficulties obtaining enough visas to fully staff its China operations. An agreement in late 2013 and subsequent agreements were supposed to have resolved the problem. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that FDA has 10 full-time staffers in Beijing despite authority for twice as many. FDA has responded that the number will normally fluctuate because of the shifting of personnel in and out of China.
  • SGR Resolved, Budget Still Pending, Export-Import Bank Soon. In last week’s Analysis and Commentary we discussed Congress’ effort to resolve various deadlocks with budget implications. When Congress returned, the Senate adopted the House-passed Medicare physician payment (SGR) bill and sent it to the President. This was notable because the new costs in the legislation are not fully offset with cuts. So far, Congress has had less success on the federal budget, although negotiations continue. The next potential impasse with budget implications is over reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, whose charter expires June 30.
  • McConnell Warns “Big Fights On Funding.” In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, as reported by Politico, the Senate majority leader

    … vows to use spending bills to extract concessions from the White House. The comments placed an emphasis on rolling back regulations and set up a new front in an approaching showdown over spending with the Obama administration …. Mr. McConnell said Republicans planned to write in restrictions on spending and various agencies’ behavior in the spending bills.

  • Please Join Us for The Alliance’s Quarterly Membership Meeting, April 28. The Alliance will be holding its quarterly membership meeting on Tuesday, April 28 from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. More details will be provided in the near-term.

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