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Advocacy at a Glance

September 14, 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 Situation Clarifying; Fate of Ag/FDA Unresolved.  The conferenced version of the first minibus appropriations bill (covering Department of Veterans Affairs as well as energy programs, military construction and congressional operations) has passed both House and Senate and will be sent to the President. The conferenced version of the DOD/Labor-HHS appropriations minibus is nearing completion and may be taken up by the Senate next week and by the House when it returns on September 24. That minibus is likely to include a CR through December 7 for all government programs that aren’t covered by an appropriations bill on October 1.

It is unclear whether Ag/FDA funding will be part of an appropriations bill passed by October or wind up covered by the CR. The multiple possibilities are discussed in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.

  • Just How Unusual Has it Become for Agencies to Be Funded by Appropriations on October 1? If the first minibus is signed by the President (not a certainty), it will be the first time since FY 09 that three of the 12 appropriations bills have been signed before October 1. Should the DOD/Labor-HHS appropriations bill be signed into law, it will be for the first time since FY 97 that more than four bills have been adopted before the new fiscal year. As described in Analysis and Commentary, there is a chance they will also adopt the four-bill minibus that includes Ag/FDA, totaling nine bills before the new year. We have not seen any references to when that last occurred, it would have been a very long time ago.
  • Hurricane Florence: A Reminder that FDA Is Part of America’s Response Team. Press attention to Hurricane Florence provides an opportunity to reflect on FDA’s vital, but often unseen, role as a front-line agency during natural disasters and other national emergencies. Of course, FDA is on the FEMA briefing calls and contributes to the government’s emergency planning process. Additionally, a number of FDA staff are part of the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps’ Rapid Deployment Force and even more FDAers are on standby to assist if more help is needed. FDA is also responsible for predicting/navigating product shortages if drug/device/biologic plants go off-line or have major supply chain disruptions because of natural disasters. According to press reports, at least one major company has suspended operations in North Carolina until the hurricane threat has ended. Similarly, FDA is involved in storm-related changes in the safety of the non-meat food supply, particularly seafood.

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