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Advocacy at a Glance

August 17, 2018

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.

  • Appropriations Recap: Ag/FDA Moves in the Senate; Awaits September for House Action. At the end of July, the Senate took up the House-passed FY 19 Interior/Financial Services and General Government mini-bus appropriations bill and added the Senate committee version of Ag/FDA and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations, creating a four-bill mini-bus. This bill passed the Senate on August 1. When the House returns from August recess, it will be available for them to act. Given that the House has not yet moved the Ag/FDA and THUD bills, the House may agree with this four-bill mini-bus, but hold onto the positions taken in their committee-passed versions. For the FDA, the House committee-passed version (+$307 million) is better than the Senate-passed version (+$159 million).
  • An Update on Funding for 21st Century Cures. Earlier this year, there was some concern about the special funding for 21st Century Cures and its fate in both the President’s request and House and Senate mark-ups. Today’s Analysis and Commentary updates the status of this program, discusses why this funding is neither budget authority (BA) appropriations nor user fees, and looks at why the program is likely to be funded for each of the years through 2025.
  • Sequesters and Rescissions: Some Budget Act Tools. The Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), as amended, sets separate budget ceilings for defense and non-defense programs through the mid-2020s. If the Congress — through appropriations bills — spends more than the defense or non-defense ceiling for a specific year, a sequestration is applied by which all defense or non-defense spending accounts are ratably reduced. It is possible that one area could be sequestered and not the other. We are all working on the assumption that there will be no FY 19 sequester because Congress amended the BCA to permit higher spending levels for FY 18 and 19. However, Congress never agreed upon 302(b) allocations for subcommittees, creating the possibility that every time the House and Senate agree on an appropriations bill, it resets the amount available for the remaining bills. Under that scenario, we don’t expect the ceiling will be breached but it is more than a theoretical possibility.

Rescissions are a tool for the Executive Branch to attempt to undo monies that have already been appropriated. At several points during the year, OMB will send Congress specific requests (e.g., FY 2018 requests to date here). Typically, Congress does not permit rescissions to take effect, but it is part of the constant, year-round skirmishes between the Administration and Congress.

  • Woodcock Presentation Rescheduled from August 14 to September 21. Due to a change in Dr. Woodcock’s schedule, her presentation to the Alliance has been moved to Friday, September 21, at 9 a.m. We will have more details in the next Friday Update. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Samantha Beard. While we will have a room that accommodates a good-sized crowd, priority will be given to Alliance members and media.

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