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Advocacy at a Glance

November 17, 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.

  • New Continuing Resolution: Still Likely, But Some Progress Reported.   A new Continuing Resolution, probably a short one, will likely be needed to extend government funding beyond December 8. Meantime, there is a scramble to see if a December 8 deadline can still be met: House and Senate leadership have started negotiations on budget caps and the Senate Appropriations Committee will release the Chairman’s marks for the four remaining subcommittee funding bills.

Complicating the overall appropriations situation are: (1) the continuing tight Congressional schedule for moving tax reform legislation to the President: (2) concerns by defense hawks that DOD will not be able to absorb a large, planned funding increase if monies are not available until early next year; and (3) Congress cannot finish appropriations until it has resolved the conflict between proposed defense spending levels for FY 18 and the much lower budget caps on defense spending provided in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

  • FDA and Thanksgiving: They Go Together. In this week’s Analysis and Commentary, the Alliance’s deputy executive director, Steven Grossman, describes the many reasons to be thankful for an effective FDA.
  • Senate HELP Committee Panel Considers Alex Azar, Nominee for Secretary of HHS.  The Senate HELP Committee has scheduled a full committee hearing on November 29 with Alex Azar, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services. The hearing will be at 9:30 a.m. in 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building. His confirmation hearing with the Senate Finance Committee has not been set. We would expect the bulk of FDA-related questions to come up in the HELP hearing, rather than in the Finance hearing.
  • FDA Releases Evaluation/Launches Pilot to Strengthen Hiring. FDA Commissioner Gottlieb announced progress in improving FDA’s hiring process and culture. The goal is to accelerate hiring, while retaining a “diverse, talented, and dedicated professional workforce,” with particular attention on building a system that will attract individuals with specialized skills. He noted that Congress has given FDA new resources and authorities to accomplish this, but that the agency needs to do more. The evaluation, entitled “Initial Assessment of FDA Hiring and Retention — A Path Forward” is a root cause analysis of where the existing system needs to be improved and recommends the agency develop and launch “a controlled pilot to test a completely new and redesigned hiring process.”
  • No Update on November 24. We Will be Back on December 1.  We wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and the chance for some rest during the short Congressional recess.

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