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Advocacy at a Glance

May 31, 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.

  • Congress Out This Week; Friday Update Early.  With Congress not returning until next week and what is so far a fairly slow news week, we are getting the Friday Update out early.  The June 2 edition of the Alliance’s weekly update was published early this week (on May 31). Next week, we will return to our usual schedule. The next edition will be on June 9.
  • Commissioner Watch: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb addressed the FDA Science Forum this morning – click here for the agenda
  • FDA In the Context of the Federal Budget: A Primer. As advocates for FDA funding, it is easy to lose sight of the larger budget picture and how FDA fits into it. This becomes particularly important this year, as the President’s request is paradoxical. On the one hand, FDA is one of the few agencies for which the new Administration is recommending a funding increase. On the other hand, the proposal sustains and increases the FDA’s budget with off-budget funding that is not going to materialize. In the context of the overall federal budget, it is possible to see what the President wants to achieve and the barriers we will face in restoring the proposed BA cuts. This week’s Analysis and Commentary is a primer on how the FDA fits into the larger budget picture.
  • Why Are Different Budget Numbers Floating Around?  Since the OMB release of the President’s budget request, there have been a blizzard of numbers purporting to show the FDA’s FY 17 base, the FY 18 request and the difference between the two. Many of the numbers that should be the same, are different. For example, during last week’s House Ag/FDA appropriations subcommittee hearing, the Commissioner kept talking about the Administrations $5.1 billion request; the chairman (and others on the subcommittee) repeatedly described the Administration request as $4.9 billion. The FY 17 funding levels used in the Alliance’s analysis (here and here) differ from those in the President’s request. Our numbers are based on the funding levels in the FY 17 Omnibus Appropriations bill; the administration used the earlier funding levels in the Continuing Resolution that expired on April 28.

More definitive numbers should be available as we move closer to subcommittee mark-ups. In the interim, the intent and direction of the Administration request is clear (massive decrease in BA funding replaced by a massive increase in medical product user fees; 10% cut to food safety). Treated as approximations, the available numbers are sufficient for analysis and advocacy.

Editorial note: We apologize to readers for the delay in posting this information to the Alliance web site.

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