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Advocacy at a Glance

December 15, 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.

  • CR Expires December 22; No Clear Path to Completion. Congress has to provide for government funding after next Friday (December 22), when the current CR expires, or risk a government shutdown. Budget ceilings (defense and non-defense) need to be finalized, then time will be needed to put together the final appropriations bills. Easily a halfdozen other difficult issues are being discussed as possible additions to the funding bill, since it may be the last “must-pass” legislation until at least mid-January. These “riders” include both funding-related issues (extension of the CHIP program; disaster relief) and purely policy issues (extension of an existing anti-terrorist surveillance program; the visa status of so-called “Dreamers” who were brought to the US illegally when they were children).

It looks like the opening salvo next week from the House side will be a proposal to raise the budget cap for defense funding, then pass a full-year appropriations bill for DOD. Non-defense programs would be given a continuing resolution until January 19 and would receive no increase in budget cap. If Congress were not to act on the CR or non-defense budget ceiling by that date, a sequester (ratable reduction in funding) of non-defense agency budget might occur shortly thereafter. House appropriations leadership acknowledged their plan had no chance in the Senate, yet insist they will send that to the Senate regardless, probably in the middle of next week.

This week’s Analysis and Commentary explores two related themes. First is how the looming deadline differs from the “regular order” appropriations process that was once the norm. Second is how it is impossible to predict what Congress will do next week on spending levels because there is no “secret plan” waiting in the wings to resolve the impasse.

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