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Advocacy at a Glance

September 18, 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.

  • Federal Spending Negotiations Continue as Fiscal Deadline Inches Closer. With just 12 days left before the new Federal Fiscal Year begins on October 1, the path toward a funding agreement remains unclear. Both Republican and Democrat leadership agree that a short-term continuing resolution (CR) is the best path forward to keep the government funded temporarily. A short-term funding patch would allow lawmakers more time to hammer out a potential comprehensive budget deal that might possibly amend previous long-term spending agreements that steeply limit defense and non-defense discretionary spending. However, the CR has yet to materialize because at least 31 of the most socially conservative House members have signed a letter vowing to block any spending bill that includes funding for Planned Parenthood. House Republican leadership will hold a vote on two stand-alone measures to defund Planned Parenthood, which will fall flat in the Senate, where Democrat support is necessary to move legislation forward. If this effort to appease social conservatives doesn’t work, GOP leaders in the House may need to look to Democrats for support. While fiscal deals between House Speaker Boehner (R, OH) and Minority Leader Pelosi (D, CA) that allow Republicans to bypass roadblocks in their own caucus are appearing to be a trend, it has risks for Republican leadership in infuriating the conservative base of the party. Alliance deputy director Steven Grossman reviews the situation and discusses the impact of uncertainty on FDA in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Funding Short-fall For Food Safety Programs Undercuts FSMA Implementation. The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing this week on food safety funding. FDA repeated its long-standing position that all of the food safety program work scheduled for FY 16 cannot be completed without a minimum increase of $109.5 million, as requested by the President. House and Senate proposed funding levels, which would add $40 million to $45 million, will help but are not nearly enough. According to Food Safety News, Acting Commissioner Ostroff said: “We do know, without question, that unless we receive the total amount of the request, that something is going to have to give in some aspect of what we’re doing.” The consequence would be “some incredibly difficult choices.”
  • FDA Funding a “High Priority” if Extra Funds Become Available. According to Politico, Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Jerry Moran, spoke with reporters after the hearing and told them: “if spending caps are lifted in a larger budget deal, FDA funding would be a high priority.”
  • Alliance Welcomes New Member, the March of Dimes. The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. They help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. They also research the problems that threaten babies and work on preventing them. Upon joining, they said: “A strong, efficient FDA with sufficient resources is critical to bringing safe and effective treatments to market for women, infants, and children who need them.”
  • President Nominates Califf to be Commissioner. President Obama is nominating FDA Deputy Commissioner Robert Califf to become the FDA Commissioner. Confirmation hearings are likely to be held this Fall.

 

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