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Advocacy at a Glance

March 11, 2017

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.

  • LATE-BREAKING: As reported by Reuters and Inside Health Policy, late Friday afternoon, President Trump/Secretary Price announced the appointment of Dr. Scott Gottlieb to be the next Commissioner of FDA. Because of the various clearances and financial reporting required by the Senate and the backlog of confirmable positions being vetted, a smooth confirmation process is still likely to take at least 6-8 weeks. This is consistent with 8 years ago, when Dr. Hamburg was nominated in mid-March and took office in mid-May.
  • Trump to Release Outline of His Budget Requests — the Quiet Before the Storm. To the best of our knowledge, March 15 is still the target for the Trump Administration to release an outline of its FY 18 budget request. The headline will be:

    $54 billion added to defense appropriations, to be offset by cutting the same amount from non-defense spending.

    The rationale for this large redistribution and the consequences for FDA are described in last week’s Analysis and Commentary. Not surprisingly, numbers — possibly still preliminary — started leaking this week. According to the Washington Post, EPA is slated for a greater than 20% cut and the Department of Housing and Urban Development may lose as much as $6 billion, about a 14% cut.

We have seen nothing that gives us any sense of the situation at HHS, but it seems likely that the department was asked to provide allocations that range from a 10% to 15% cut. We have no idea at this time whether that will be spread to all HHS agencies through across-the-board cuts or whether they will evaluate each agency on its own merits and needs. The Alliance strongly supports the latter, feeling that unique role of FDA, a core function of government, should receive better treatment than the bulk of federal programs. For more about the impending appropriation cycle and the interpretation of funding requests for FDA, please read this week’s Analysis and Commentary.

  • April 5 Deadline Set for Members to Submit Requests to the House Ag Appropriations SC. The House Appropriations Committee’s Ag/FDA subcommittee has announced that Members of Congress have until COB on April 5 to submit their programmatic and language requests to the subcommittee for consideration in the FY 2018 Appropriations bill. Details are here. In order for Members to comply, they will be setting their own deadlines, likely 1-3 weeks before April 5, in order to collect constituent requests. If you are planning to communicate with Members to ask them to provide funding support for FDA, check with their offices about their internal deadlines. Deadlines in the Senate have not yet been set.

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