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Advocacy at a Glance

September 21, 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.

  • FY 19 Ag/FDA Appropriations: Still Possible Before October 1. The fate of Ag/FDA funding is tied to movement on a four-bill minibus that also includes funding for Financial Services, Interior-Environment, and Transportation/HUD. Congress may be able to complete action on this before October 1 or during the first week of October. The primary limiting factor is that House members are pushing hard for an early recess so that they can go home to campaign, perhaps leaving as early as September 27 or 28. Despite the short time frame before recess, there is still some optimism that Congress will be able to pass an Ag/FDA minibus before adjournment. This is discussed in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Will The President Sign Appropriations Bills? Situation Unclear. Everything about FY 19 appropriations that are described in this week’s Advocacy at a Glance and Analysis and Commentary, comes with the following caveat: “unless the President vetoes Congressionally-passed FY 19 funding bills.” For weeks, Congressional leaders have proceeded in the belief that President Trump will (1) sign off on appropriations bills passed by Congress, including the CR contained in the DOD/Labor-HHS bill, and (2) be satisfied that issues over border funding, especially the wall, will be deferred until consideration of the Homeland Security appropriations bill during the post-election Congressional session. Notwithstanding Congressional optimism, the President has repeatedly teased out the possibility of forcing the entire government onto a Continuing Resolution or even shutting down the government by vetoing a CR. For the extensive backstory, see Roll Call’s analyses here and here.
  • Lame-Duck Session Realities Continues to Impact Pre-Recess Politics. This dynamic — and its possible impact on FDA — were discussed at length in a prior week’s Analysis and Commentary, here.
  • Farm Bill Completion: Down to the Wire. At one point, it was believed that the Farm Bill was a “must-pass” before Congress recessed before the election. While resolution is still possible, there is increasing talk that the Farm Bill programs will be extended while Congress searches for compromises during the post-election session. The most prominent issue is the House’s advocacy for increased work requirements for SNAP (food stamps) recipients, a position that enjoys little support in the Senate, even among Republicans. While the Farm Bill does not generally concern FDA, its resolution can sometimes have an impact on Ag/FDA appropriations.
  • GSA Releases Next-Step Plan for White Oak Expansion Plan. GSA is looking for comments by October 15 on its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and choice of alternative C for the long-term expansion of the FDA White Oak campus. Details are here. The highlight is that two relatively large office towers are planned along with many other changes. Our 2017 column describing the process and issues is here. A March 2018 update is here.

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