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Advocacy at a Glance

December 9, 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.

  • Continuing Resolution Close, But May Not Make Friday Night Deadline. As our regular Friday update went to press, final action on the Continuing Resolution had not occurred despite the pending expiration of the current CR at midnight, Friday, December 9. Eventually, the Senate is expected to accept the House-passed version without amendment and extend government funding until April 28, 2017. However, several Senators are pushing an amendment concerning health benefits for mine workers and have threatened to delay the CR unless their demands are met. This may temporarily close the government over the weekend while the Senate goes through the procedural steps to prevent an amendment. However, most weekend workers classify as “essential personnel” and they would still report for work. A government shut-down would not have any actual effect until Monday morning, by which time it is expected that the Senate will have acted.
  • FDA and Other Agencies with Growing Missions Will Be Hurt by the CR. A half-year CR (or longer) is always a bad thing for FDA because it makes planning difficult, hiring with BA monies risky, and generally slows new, non-emergency initiatives. We have also been told that the new CR includes an across-the-board cut of 0.19 percent for all accounts, including defense and non-defense programs. More details on the CR can be found in this summary.
  • 21st Century Cures Legislation Awaits President’s Signature. The Senate has voted 94–5 to pass the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34) and send the medical innovation legislation to the president. No amendments were adopted during the Senate’s final consideration of the measure. The White House has indicated that President Obama will sign the bill into law shortly. The first installment of the monies for FDA to implement the law ($20 million in FY 17) is included in the Continuing Resolution that Congress is expected to pass before it adjourns. Some of the longer-term consequences of the CURES FDA Innovation Fund monies are discussed in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Trump HHS Transition Staff is Further Expanded. The transition has named three additional persons who will be working on HHS transition: Ed Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation; Maggie Wynne of the Knights of Columbus, and Kamran Daravi, a recent college graduate with a master’s in public health. In recent years, Haislmaier is best known for his work on insurance market reform, but earlier in his career, he was involved in pharmaceutical policy. Wynne has extensive experience at HHS, as well as having served on the Hill.

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