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Advocacy at a Glance

September 5, 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.

  • Alliance/Capitol Hill Meetings (“Lobby Day”) on September 10. Our Capitol Hill Meetings on Thursday, September 10 will focus on the appropriations process as lawmakers head toward the home stretch of the FY 2016 budget process. Also, if Congress decides to increase spending caps, we want to be sure FDA is on the minds of lawmakers. Please let us know if you are available to participate in the Capitol Hill Meetings on Thursday, September 10 for a half day (morning or afternoon) or for the full day by e-mailing Tony Curry. For more on Lobby Day, particularly its importance, see this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Congress: Short, Busy September. Congress returns next Tuesday (September 8) and hopefully will get down to business quickly. However, there are barely more than a handful of work days scheduled this month (10 in the House; 15 in the Senate minus time for the Pope’s visit) and a plethora of pressing issues. Yet Congress knows it will have to find time to settle budget and appropriations, if only to pass a short-term continuing resolution by October 1. In previous Analysis and Commentary reports, there has been a discussion of the possibility of a shut-down and impact on FDA. Likewise, there has been a review of Continuing Resolutions and impact on FDA. Finally, the last such update in August addressed why it is so hard for Congress to reach agreement on funding bills.
  • Sequester Threat Still Alive. On August 15, OMB issued a report that concludes:

    To date, no 2016 appropriations bills have been enacted into law and, therefore, no changes are reflected to the current 2016 caps. If the 2016 discretionary caps remain unchanged, this report … finds that, if enacted, actions by the House of Representatives would result in a sequestration of nearly $1.8 billion in the non-defense category while actions by the Senate are in compliance with the current 2016 spending limit for the non-defense category.

    The $1.8 billion would be a one-third of 1% sequester, or about $15-20 million total from FDA’s appropriation and user fees.

  • Debt Ceiling Vote Delayed Until Year-End. As reported by Politico, CBO is projecting that Congress will not have to vote on the politically-charged debt ceiling until November or December at the earliest. This is notable because it means the issue will not intrude on the October 1 continuing resolution. However, there is a risk of having a debt ceiling vote at the same time as the short-term CR expires (possibly in December).
  • Food Industry Urges Appropriations, not User Fees, in FY 17 President’s Request. More than 60 food trade associations have signed onto a letter to OMB that focuses on the FY 17 President’s budget request. The letter asks the President to fund implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) from appropriated funds rather than user fees (termed “regulatory taxes”). This is a long-standing position of the industry, but it was timely to reiterate it now because the President’s FY 17 budget is being compiled throughout the executive branch and will culminate in the State of the Union in January 2016.

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