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Advocacy at a Glance

August 11, 2019

BBA Becomes Law; Difficult Path to Appropriation Bills by October 1. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (BBA) is now law, setting budget ceilings for defense and non-defense spending for this coming fiscal year and next. Passage of the BBA is the necessary first step for enactment of FY 20 appropriations bills, but there is still a difficult path ahead and limited time. On paper, the situation looks fairly good. The House has passed 10 of the 12 appropriations bills already and the Senate is poised for accelerated action once they return on September 9.

However, the ink is barely dry on the President’s signature and the Senate is already staking out territory that will make compromise with the House difficult. The initial disagreement (and there are likely to be many more) is over the Labor-HHS funding bill. The media is reporting that Senate Appropriations Chairman Shelby intends to redirect $5 billion of monies allocated for L/HHS programs to border security (including a wall). This will provoke the House, which wants neither border wall funding nor a Homeland Security funding bill without restraints on unilateral executive branch action.

Analysis and Commentary Looks at Optimism vs. Pessimism about Passage of Funding Bills by October 1. In last week’s Analysis and Commentary (here), we expressed some (very) cautious optimism that movement on Senate appropriations bills in September would be sufficient for many agencies to be funded on October 1. They would then not need to be included in a Continuing Resolution when the fiscal year starts. In this week’s Analysis and Commentary, we compare the case for optimism and pessimism for appropriations action in September.

Multiple New Studies Highlight Real-World Costs of Major Diseases. Over the last two months, several studies have highlighted the costs associated with major diseases. Each represents a contribution to the literature that shows the value of FDA and the importance of  its contribution to fighting disease. The costs to society and Medicare of osteoporosis is described here and was sponsored by Alliance member, Research!America.  The costs of Alzheimer’s disease are described here and here and were sponsored by Alliance member, Alliance for Aging Research. New cost estimates on Parkinson’s disease are here and were sponsored by Alliance member, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

New Regulations Assure a Busy Summer. Hat tip to Nick Florko at STAT for finding this tidbit from a recent PwC analysis: Over the last 10 years HHS has dropped more regulations in July and August than virtually any other month of the year. Friday was among the most popular days to drop regulations.

Friday Update to Publish August 9 and August 23, Back to Weekly Starting September 6. It may be August in DC, but there is still plenty happening, especially around budgeting and appropriations. After today’s issue, we are going to take a week off and publish a mid-recess edition on August 23. We will take another week off (August 30). Then, on September 6, we will discuss the status of appropriations efforts and politics just before Congress returns. We will be back to a weekly schedule after that.

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