Skip to content

Advocacy at a Glance

September 20, 2019

Senate Unveils Proposed $80 Million Increase for FDA. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY 20 Ag/FDA appropriations bill on September 19 (here and here). It includes $3.148 billion in discretionary funding for the FDA, which is $80 million above the FY 19 enacted level.  The bill includes a $7 million increase for Medical Countermeasures Initiatives, $10 million to reduce pathogens in the blood supply, $6 million for compounding prescription drugs, $7 million for advancing FSMA, $8 million for FDA to respond to food outbreaks, and $2 million for cannabidiol activities. The bill also includes $15 million to address infrastructure needs at FDA buildings and laboratories. More information is contained in the committee report. FDA’s portion starts on page 104.

The House-reported numbers are $3.26 billion in discretionary funding in the bill, which is $184 million above the FY 19 enacted level. We will be doing a comparison of the two bills for next week’s Friday Update. Both bills include an additional $75 million authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, which does not count against budget authority spending ceilings.

A Week of Appropriations Maneuvering Without Any Certain Outcome. The House and Senate were both busy this week on funding issues (see stories below). While this represents progress, it is not yet certain whether funding will be available, and on what terms, when the new fiscal year starts on October 1. Nobody wants a shutdown — everyone is preaching calm. However, there is no guarantee (at this point) that the FY 20 Continuing Resolution won’t become a September 30 stare-down, with the possibility that no one is willing to blink. Mitigating against this is that both the House and Senate are scheduled to recess on Friday, September 27 and do not plan to return to DC until Tuesday, October 15.

You Have Questions … Analysis and Commentary Has Answers. The FY 20 funding situation has more moving parts and more complexity than usual. This week’s Analysis and Commentary is in the form of a Q&A that explains many of the nuances.

House Passes FY 20 Continuing Resolution; Intended as Vehicle to Prevent a Government Shutdown. House appropriators, working closely with leadership, spent all week pulling together a Continuing Resolution that would fund the federal government from October 1 until November 21. The list of items that needed to be in the CR was long and more politically fraught than usual, initially delaying negotiations on the bill. Finally, the CR was passed 301-123 on September 19. The prevailing assumption is that the House-passed CR already includes provisions that assure Senate passage and the President’s signature. It is not yet clear whether this is true or merely wishful thinking.

Senate Plays Catch-up on Funding Bills; Schedule/Strategy Still Evolving. The Senate has started moving appropriations bills from subcommittee to committee, with the intent of considering some of them on the Senate floor before October 1. However, there is no straight path to Senate passage and conference with the House. This week, Senate Republican leadership called up a House-passed FY 20 minibus (that included Defense and L-HHS) with the intent of substituting Senate text and numbers. This effort failed because Democrats wouldn’t accept (1) an FY 20 Defense package that included funds to replace FY 19 DOD monies that the President used to fund border wall construction and (2) an FY 20 L-HHS package that would have shortchanged human services programs to assure there were funds for large increases at the Department of Homeland Security. Ranking Member Leahy explained this in greater detail here.

Comments are closed.