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Advocacy at a Glance

January 15, 2016

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.

  • Thank You to the Appropriators. With FY 16 done, and many predicting a fast moving FY 17 process, it is easy to be forward focused on what comes next. Before we do that, it is important to recognize not only the prioritization that FDA received last year, but the long track record appropriators, from a bipartisan perspective, have had to prioritize the important functions of the FDA. This track record has been there in both lean and robust times. There are many competing and worthy programs for the scarce federal dollars available to appropriators. We know that when we meet with Agriculture Appropriations members and staff — they are going to ask tough questions and be good stewards; but we are deeply appreciative they always give FDA fair and thoughtful consideration, and have taken steps, as they did last year, to ensure there are resources to keep our food supply safe and our medical products safe and effective. In short — thank you to the very hard working members and staff of the Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. And a special thank you to the Chairs and Ranking Members who showed outstanding leadership and consideration for the FDA. We appreciate your work.
  • FY 17 Appropriations Process to Be Speeded Up. With the election and a shortened number of legislative work days, appropriations will start sooner and proceed quicker this year. Immediate key dates are February 9 (President’s FY 17 Budget Request) and February 25 (approximate date for the House budget resolution to move). Assuming that the budget resolution will be based on last Fall’s bipartisan budget agreement, then early movement is possible since this was a sticking point in many recent appropriations cycles. The implications of this accelerated schedule are discussed in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Califf Advances, But Prospects Uncertain. The Senate HELP committee voted this week to approve the nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to be the next FDA commissioner. His nomination will next go to the Senate floor. When and whether that vote will occur is uncertain. Senator Murkowski of Alaska has threatened to place a hold on the nomination until she receives more satisfactory answers about the labeling of genetically-modified (GMO) salmon. Further, Senator Sanders of Vermont may hold up the nomination because of his objections to Dr. Califf’s prior ties to companies doing clinical trials.
  • FSMA Implementation: Looking Forward and Looking Back. In the FDA Voice, deputy commissioner for food safety, Michael Taylor, describes FDA’s efforts to reach out to the food-producing community to explain the Food Safety Modernization Act and the valuable feedback he has received. Plans for more outreach early this year are described.

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