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Advocacy at a Glance

February 1, 2019

February 15 Is the New Deadline; Negotiations Begin. After a Continuing Resolution was passed by Congress and signed by the President, FDA employees (and several hundred thousand other federal workers) were told to report back to work. Congress has given itself until February 15 to work out a funding bill that the President will sign. House-Senate conferees began negotiations this week, but it is hard to see how they can reach an agreement that the President will sign. Right now, the only common thread among the conferees is that “no one in Congress wants another shutdown.” If there is no agreement and no extension of the Continuing Resolution (or a CR is vetoed), then the shutdown would resume.

If Border Wall Impasse Is Resolved, Final Bill Should Contain $268 Million Boost for FDA. About 10 days ago, the Appropriations Committees released the House-Senate conference agreement for the bills covered by the Continuing Resolutions in place since the first day of the fiscal year. As a result, the FDA will receive a $268 million increase in FY 19 if (and only if) the FY 19 appropriation bill becomes law (not a continuing resolution). At this time, the House-Senate negotiators on the border wall impasse appear to be working from the conference numbers, which makes us optimistic. The worst-case scenario for FDA would be if Congress passed a Continuing Resolution through September. In that case, FDA would be funded at FY 18 levels and would receive no increase.

This Week’s Analysis and Commentary Contains New FAQ. This week’s questions cover: efforts to prevent or ameliorate the impact of a shutdown, generally and on FDA; preparation for participating in Alliance Hill meetings; and prospects for a smoother pathway for FY 20 appropriations.

Republican Members of the House Ag/FDA Appropriations Subcommittee. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) will be the new ranking  minority member on the House Ag/FDA Appropriations Subcommittee. Also on the subcommittee will be Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI).

Feb. 13 Meetings with Appropriators to Talk About FY 20. As we previously announced, on February 13, the Alliance will be meeting with personal staff of members on the House and Senate Ag/FDA Appropriations subcommittees. We already have a good group of people signed up, but can use a few more. We particularly encourage food safety advocates to sign-up. If you are available to help for a half day — either morning or afternoon — e-mail Samantha Beard to RSVP.

Annual Alliance Lobby Day — Mark Your Calendars — March 19. On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, the Alliance will storm the Hill for our Annual Lobby Day. Hold the date and we will be asking for RSVPs in a couple of weeks. Unlike the more focused lobbying on February 13, on Lobby Day we strive for the largest number of participants who can help educate Congress about the mission of FDA and the importance of it being well-funded.

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