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Advocacy at a Glance

November 9, 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.

  • Will Congress Complete Appropriations in the Post-Recess Session or Further Extend the CR?  FDA is now funded by a Continuing Resolution that extends through December 7. The agency’s appropriations bill (Ag/FDA) is one of seven that did not pass Congress before the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1. Our understanding is that a final House-Senate version of FY 19 Ag/FDA spending is completed or nearly so. Whether it moves forward (and when) is dependent on larger budget and appropriations issues and lame duck politics. These are described in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.
  • Election Results Affecting FDA Spending: Little Change in the Senate; Major Changes in the House.  The Senate Appropriations Committee will be intact when the Congress re-convenes in January. So, unless there is some unexpected re-shuffling of assignments, we would expect Senator Hoeven (R, ND) and Senator Merkley (D, OR) to remain the chairman and ranking member, respectively, on the subcommittee. In contrast, there will be major changes in the House, with Representative Sanford Bishop (D, GA) expected to become the new chair of the Ag/FDA subcommittee. On the Republican side, our understanding is that Representative Aderholt would be term-limited from becoming the ranking member and there is no natural successor since at least two subcommittee Republicans (Yoder and Young) were not re-elected. Reportedly, Republican leadership on appropriations will undergo significant changes, meaning that the Ag/FDA subcommittee ranking member might be undecided until at least December.
  • New Ag/FDA Chairman Bishop: Insight Into His Priorities. Incoming House Ag/FDA subcommittee chair Sanford Bishop represents a rural southwest Georgia district — so he brings insights and experience to his new role, as well as interested constituents. The Alliance can report, from our own interactions with him and his office, that he very much values the FDA and will be receptive to the agency’s needs. In an interview with POLITICO before the election, Bishop said that his priorities, if the Democrats control the House, would be “rural development programs, hurricane relief for farmers and ranchers, steering more federal funds to counties with ‘persistent poverty,’ and keeping a close eye on the Agriculture Department’s plans to relocate two research agencies out of the D.C. area.” He also emphasized the importance of agricultural research and the role of nutrition in making sure no American goes hungry.
  • Upcoming Alliance Briefing with Dr. Steve Solomon, Head of the Center for Veterinary Medicine.  The Alliance’s meeting with Dr. Solomon is now scheduled for December 6 at 3:00 p.m. at a downtown DC location. The work of most Alliance members is touched directly or indirectly by CVM activities because they are “a microcosm of FDA, with activities in veterinary pharmaceuticals, stem cells, veterinary devices, animal and human food safety, antimicrobial resistance, research, and outbreak response.” In past years, the CVM briefing has been among the most interesting … and the most surprising. Alliance members and media should let us know of their interest in attending by e-mailing Steven Grossman.

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