Skip to content

Advocacy at a Glance

July 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.

  • House Passes First Appropriations Bill; Recesses Until September 5. In one of its final acts before adjourning for recess, the House passed a mini-bus appropriations bill that includes funding for the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Energy, as well as the Legislative Branch. The bill raises defense spending by $72 billion above spending caps, which could force a 13% sequester in defense accounts, and has a number of policy riders that could not muster 60 votes in the Senate. More here.

Avoiding a defense sequester would require Congress to amend the spending caps in the Budget Control Act of 2011, leaving open the possibility of increases in the spending cap on non-defense agencies. Meantime, the House budget committee passed an FY 18 proposal that would be consistent with the defense increases, but is controversial because of substantial cuts in human services programs.  Thus, while House passage of its first Appropriations bill represents progress, there are significant budget, spending, and policy rider issues that must be resolved before the House and Senate can agree and a bill sent to the President.

  • Prior to Last Night’s Vote, the Senate was Scheduled to be in Session 2 More Weeks, then Recess Until September 5. The Senate’s rollercoaster ride with health reform forced Senators to give up 2 weeks of their scheduled August recess and backlogged items of interest to the Alliance. Notably, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) passed the House in mid-July and has been placed on the Senate calendar. We have been told that the bill is most likely to come up during the week of August 7, but it may slip until after the recess. A key factor is finding enough floor time for consideration of amendments.  We await word from Senate leadership on how last night’s vote will impact the August schedule, if at all.
  • Commissioner Gottlieb Postpones Lay-Off Notices on Assumption of FDARA Passage. While the user fee programs reauthorized by FDARA don’t expire until September 30, the House and Senate’s target deadline was always August 1. The goal was to avoid sending lay-off notices to FDA employees, who are entitled to 60 days notice if monies may not be available to fund their positions. In a July 24 letter to FDA staff, Dr. Gottlieb expressed his belief that FDARA would be enacted before the user fee programs expired. Notices will be sent to staff only if September 30 passes without enactment of the law.
  • Member Survey.  If you are the lead contact person for your organization, you should have received a member survey from the Alliance. We are trying to confirm contact information, and also match up our membership’s geographic presence with key appropriators who will impact the FDA’s budget. We hope you will take a look at and complete the survey, as it will help us make constituent connections with our advocacy.

Comments are closed.