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Advocacy at a Glance

April 28, 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.

  • Thank You to Participants — Alliance Capitol Hill Advocacy Day is a Success. Earlier this week, more than 50 Alliance members participated in approximately 60 meetings with authorizers and appropriators. The hand-outs we used are attached (click here and here). For more about Hill Day and to learn about the concept of a “Fake Swap,” see this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Shutdown Threat Diminishes; Congress Gives Itself an Additional Week to Settle FY 17 Funding. It was never realistic that Congress would finish FY 17 funding the same week they returned from recess. So, it is no surprise that Congress is planning to fund the government for an additional week, from April 28 to May 5, in order to give themselves more time to negotiate. Meantime, the chances of a government shutdown seemed less and less as the week went on, but still cannot be ruled out entirely.

As of today, appropriators appear to be making good progress, with the extra week largely needed to reach agreement on policy riders, not funding levels. The consensus is that the appropriations vehicle will be an omnibus bill reflecting FY 17 appropriations votes taken by the House and Senate last Spring. If that is the case, FDA may see a $30-40 million increase above the FY 16 funding level. If there aren’t sufficient votes to adopt the omnibus, we assume leadership would fall back to a Continuing Resolution, which would leave FDA funded at its FY 16 level.

  • President’s Full FY 18 Budget Request Due in May. With all of the attention being paid to settling FY 17 funding and the House’s evolving health reform package, it is easy to forget that next week is the start of  May and the President’s full budget request can be expected sometime during the month. Based on the “skinny budget” that the President has already released, many on Capitol Hill have called the full budget “dead on arrival.” If this was actually true, then FDA would be in okay shape for the FY 18 cycle, working from its budget authority appropriation of $2.7 billion. Instead, based on the President “skinny budget” proposal for FDA (described here), he is more likely to propose something closer to $1.7 billion (lower is not out of the question) and this would be a 37% cut. An earlier Analysis and Commentary column was devoted to explaining why the President’s request is not DOA and may exert extreme downward pressure on FDA funding.
  • “First In Humans” Documentary Records History of NIH Clinical Center. Our FasterCures colleagues, who are longtime Alliance members, have been kind to forward an interesting opportunity to view a documentary about the important work done at the NIH Clinical Center. As we’ve always discussed, there is a connection between the basic research being done at the NIH and FDA. A first showing of the film is scheduled for the evening of May 2. For more information and to RSVP, go to www.FirstinHumanDC.com.

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