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Advocacy at a Glance

September 12, 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.

  • Congress Returns to Tackle Lengthy To-Do List — Continuing Resolution Likely. Congress returned to work this week after August recess and must immediately confront the task of funding the government for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. Congress also will consider the President’s foreign policy proposal relating to Iran. In addition, Washington will be hosting a visit from the Pope which will take considerable attention and focus from Congressional leadership. Given the limited time and attention, it is expected that Congress will pass a “short term continuing resolution,” which will fund the government possibly past Thanksgiving and kick major funding issues down the road a few months. A contentious issue is whether social conservatives will push for proposals to defund Planned Parenthood as part of the funding process. While the word “shutdown” is being invoked by some Democrats, Republican leadership has dismissed shutdown rumors, and indicated a shutdown is not the goal. For what the Alliance heard from Hill staff during its September 10 Lobby Day, please read this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • The Emerging Fall Fiscal Cliff. A short-term continuing resolution could potentially create what some are calling the “perfect storm” later this year, when Congress will also be confronted with a number of fiscal issues. By the end of October, Congress plans to address expiration of the Federal Highway funding, and a major issue is whether it will be a long-term plan or short-term punt. Also at some point in the Fall, the debt ceiling limit hits; and by December 31, Congress will have to decide on extending a number of popular tax provisions that are only authorized a year at a time. Here is an excellent analysis of the Fall schedule for items that impact government spending.
  • Lawmakers Urge Increased Food Safety Funding in the Administration’s FY 17 Request. House Appropriations Committee members Rosa DeLauro and Sam Farr have written to OMB and to HHS asking that the President’s FY 17 budget request include adequate funding for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In particular, they have stressed that budget authority appropriations funding is required, based on Congress’ multiple rejections of the Administration’s food user fee proposals.
  • Working with Regulators: A Focus on the FDA. A seminar on this topic is being held by Alliance member, Cancer Support Community (cosponsored by a number of other Alliance members). The event is on September 16 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown DC and is especially designed for patient advocates. For more information or to register, please click here.
  • Defense of Food Safety By Alliance Board Member. The Mercatus Institute at George Mason University has again attacked FDA, this time over whether FSMA has a positive cost/benefit. We have criticized two earlier Mercatus studies on FDA budget and regulations here and here. So, not surprisingly, this latest analysis is riddled with errors. A tip of the hat to Alliance board member, David Plunkett, for his op-ed in Food Safety News that systematically rebuts the Mercatus study.
  • FDA ‘Very Comfortable’ With CURES Policy; Worried About Resources. As reported by Politico:

    At a Research!America forum on Thursday, [FDA Acting Commissioner] Ostroff made clear that the agency’s worries were not over the policies in the House bill — rather, it’s whether the agency gets enough funding to carry them out. The House-passed Cures bill included about half of the nearly $1 billion requested by the agency to implement the legislation’s programs.

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