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Advocacy at a Glance

October 30, 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/Senate/WH Reach 2-Year Budget Deal. House and Senate negotiators announced a deal that lifts the debt ceiling until March 2017. The legislation would increase non-defense discretionary spending by $25 billion in FY 16 and by $15 billion in FY 17. The FY 16 increase is about 5% and the FY 17 increase is about 3% of total non-defense discretionary budget. At week’s end, the House and Senate have both adopted the legislation and it is ready to be sent to the President for signature.
  • How Does the Budget Deal Impact FDA’s Appropriations? The budget deal does not allocate which agencies will receive additional funding. The deal only provides an outline of top-line spending. The appropriations committee will now need to determine funding levels for specific agencies. Presumably this must be done prior to December 11, when the current Continuing Resolution ends. In many ways, this is the end-game that we have been hoping for. For more discussion of the potential impact on FDA, read this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Next Steps for Alliance Advocacy. With the potential for new funding to be added into the FDA’s budget, the Alliance views this situation as a major opportunity. We will be stepping up our advocacy over the next several weeks. We will outline these steps early next week.
  • Ryan Elected Speaker of the House. Representative Paul D. Ryan became the new Speaker of the House, replacing John Boehner, who had resigned. At least momentarily, this quiets partisan bickering in the House Republican Conference as conservatives largely agreed to the Ryan selection. In accepting the post, Ryan has indicated a commitment to more bottom-up policy development instead of the persistent situation where crises have emerged and the Speaker and a handful of other leaders negotiated a package without extensive consultation with the rank and file.
  • Califf Endorsed by NEJM. In an unusual move, the New England Journal of Medicine has endorsed Dr. Califf’s nomination to be the next FDA commissioner. The editorial is informative about his background and experiences and should interest even those who are neutral or oppose the nomination. Our understanding is that the Senate HELP committee is still hoping to hold Dr. Califf’s confirmation hearing before Thanksgiving.
  • Alliance Annual Membership Meeting, November 3 at 1:00 PM ET (teleconference only meeting). We will be converting our previously planned meeting on Tuesday, November 3 at 1:00 p.m. ET into a call-in only. Please dial: 877-332-1603; PIN: 205 6626. Given recent developments with a budget deal, we will be focused on specific next steps the Alliance will be taking to encourage additional FDA funding.
  • Alliance Speaker Schedule. The Alliance has invited HELP Committee Majority and Minority staff to speak regarding their version of the 21st Century Cures legislation, once it is released. We will update membership as soon as this meeting is organized. The Alliance also has a long-standing request into Dr. Califf to speak, and should he be confirmed, we are hopeful we will be one of the first places he stops to outline his agenda.

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