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Advocacy at a Glance

April 7, 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.

  • Alliance Lobby Day Will Be April 25. Please join us in delivering the message to appropriators, authorizers, and Congressional leaders: FDA funding must be sustained in order to serve the daily needs of the American people. RSVP to Priscilla Kasper.  If you can’t join us for the entire day, let us know what part of the day would work best for you. More details will be in the next several Friday Updates.
  • Is It Possible The Government Will Shut Down on April 28? Normally, we would say “No.” After Congress returns from its two-week recess (April 10-24), they only need to pass funding for the remaining 5 months of FY 17. All the issues appear to be ones that could wait for the FY 18 funding cycle and Congressional leadership has been adamant that there will be no shutdown. At most, we might anticipate a one-week extension of the CR while legislators work out some final issues and get a firm whip count.

All that said, there is a genuine threat of a government closure. The White House is insistent on its FY 17 funding priorities (defense, border security, and the border wall; no monies for Planned Parenthood). This leaves Republican Congressional leadership caught between needing Democratic votes (especially in the Senate) and the possibility of a President veto. As reflected in this these polling data, the American people are generally opposed to a shutdown, but remarkably open to that outcome if one of their priority issues is at stake.

  • Senate Ag/FDA Appropriations Subcommittee Rules Out FY 17 Cuts; FY 18 Still Uncertain. According to Politico, Senate Ag/FDA appropriations subcommittee chair, Senator John Hoeven, has ruled out making changes in the current fiscal year for the President’s proposed cuts to programs under his subcommittee’s jurisdiction. FDA was only targeted for a $40 million cut in FY 17, as described here. However, USDA programs are heavily targeted in both FY 17 and FY 18 and are likely to be a sticking point when Congress grapples with the President’s proposed cuts for FY 18.  The threat to FDA in FY 18 is more nuanced, as described here, but is also influenced by the nature and extent of program cutbacks at USDA.
  • Funding FSMA a Top Priority of State Agriculture Departments. As reported in Politico, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture sent a letter to appropriators stressing the importance of FSMA funding in guiding and enabling their state activities.
  • Focus on FDA’s Workplace Needs. In last week’s Analysis and Commentary, we made two points on FDA personnel issues. First, FDA’s entire workforce (whether funded by BA or user fees) needs to be exempt from the Administration’s efforts to reduce the number of federal government employees. Second, we need to assure that the agency is permitted to hire the varied kinds of staff it needs. FasterCures, a long-time Alliance member, has also been tracking these issues closely. For more about the FDA workforce, they provide a a blog post and a white paper that Alliance members will find useful.

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