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Advocacy at a Glance

November 6, 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.

  • Appropriations Process Moving Fast; Subcommittee Allocations Reported to Have Been Made (But Not Yet Public). With topline spending numbers now having been determined through last week’s budget deal, Congress is racing to finish the FY 16 appropriations process well in advance of the December 11th expiration of the Continuing Resolution. As of press-time (mid-morning Friday), we have been told reliably that appropriations subcommittees have received their new spending allocations, but that the actual numbers have not been released to the public. The Ag/FDA subcommittee is rumored to do somewhat better than other subcommittees, but that it could be related to “patching” political problems created by cutting crop subsidies as part of the offset for the larger budget deal.
  • Action Needed – Please Send Us Your Letter in Support of FDA Funding. The availability of additional discretionary domestic spending gives FDA a second chance to capture additional resources for FY 16. The Alliance needs you to write to appropriators urging them to make FDA a national priority. For more on action steps for Alliance members, see this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Could the Government Still Shut Down? Answer: It Is Possible. While an overall budget deal has provided more room on the debt ceiling and established increased discretionary spending, Congress still needs to appropriate funding through the appropriations process before the expiration of the Continuing Resolution on December 11th. While that process is made easier by the availability of additional discretionary money, there are still hurdles that the new leadership team in the House will need to clear. Specifically at issue will be whether policy riders are included in the appropriations process. Deeply controversial items like immigration reform and Planned Parenthood funding, seem to be off the table, but we are still early in the process to know whether some conservative factions will try to force these issues. At this early stage, it is clear that there is appetite amongst most House Republicans to try to curb executive branch regulations in a host of areas, including environmental protection and financial services. What Democrats in the Senate would find acceptable will be the art of the deal.
  • House/Senate Release 2016 Legislative Calendars. Both House and Senate Republican leadership have released their work schedules for 2016. Notable is that both conventions will occur in July, putting Congress in recess for almost the entire summer. They will then return for September, but try to recess in early October for the election. Here is Roll Call coverage: discussion of House schedule. The full Senate and House calendars are available on the PoliticoPro web site (for registered users). One question this raises for the Alliance is whether the FY 17 appropriations process will be accelerated in the Spring or whether the process will have to be squeezed into September.

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