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Advocacy at a Glance

November 1, 2019

TOP LINE: The Senate moved forward on a FY 20 minibus funding bill that includes Ag/FDA, but progress beyond that appears to be blocked. The current CR expires November 21 and is likely to be renewed until late December or early next year. This week’s Analysis and Commentary looks at the Pentagon’s role in making a shutdown unlikely and how our nation’s generals are FDA’s ally in the agency’s efforts to receive a FY 20 funding increase. Sign up for the Alliance’s upcoming webinar on appropriations.

Senate Passes First Minibus, Which Includes Ag/FDA Funding. On October 31, by a vote of 84 to 9, the Senate voted to adopt a minibus, HR 3055, that includes the Senate Appropriations committee bills that provide funding for Ag/FDA, Commerce/Justice/Science, Interior/Environment, and Transportation/HUD. That will tee up House and Senate negotiations on funding those agencies, which are comparatively easier to agree upon, on a bipartisan basis, than the other eight subcommittee bills. While Senate passage of HR 3055 could result in the minibus becoming law soon, more likely the bill will wait with the others until House and Senate have agreed upon 302(b) subcommittee allocations. Reportedly, talks continue on the allocations but little progress is being made.

Senate Fails to Move Second Minibus, Which Includes L-HHS and DOD. Following passage of HR 3055, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to bring up HR 2740, another minibus that incorporates four subcommittee bills (DOD, L-HHS, Energy and Water, and State/Foreign Operations). Democrats objected for several reasons, notably that a smaller proportional increase was being given to L-HHS in order to provide border wall funding when the Homeland Security bill comes up later. The House and Senate will have to agree on 302(b) subcommittee spending allocations before this minibus can move forward. The role of DOD appropriations in FDA’s fate is discussed in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.

White House Lists Objections to Senate FY 20 Bills.  On October 23, the White House sent a letter to Senate appropriators detailing the Administration’s concerns on 10 of 12 FY 20 appropriations bills. (No comments on the Military Construction or Legislative Branch bills.)  FDA received the President’s support:

The bill provides select funding increases for FDA, which would help improve its ability to efficiently and effectively evaluate the safety of medical products and improve the safety of the Nation’s food supply. The bill also provides funds for vital infrastructure improvements.

“FDA Appropriations: A 360° View” Webinar Set for November 6. The Alliance is pleased to offer its members a webinar — FDA Appropriations: A 360° View — on November 6 at 1 p.m. The webinar will feature Jessica Schulken, former Senate Appropriations Committee staffer, and Steven Grossman, the Alliance’s Deputy Executive Director. We will be providing both a Hill and an advocate’s perspective on the history of FDA funding, the Hill’s view of the agency, construction of the President’s budget request, and an in-depth look at FDA’s positioning in the FY 20 funding cycle. To RSVP and receive call-in information, please e-mail Reed Diskey. If you have specific questions you would like addressed, contact Steven Grossman directly.

FDA’s FY 20 Funding: House and Senate Bills Compared This Alliance chart compares the House and Senate FY 20 bills with the FDA’s FY 19 FDA appropriations. The House has claimed that its bill is $184 million more than FY 19 and the Senate has stated its bill is $80 million more than FY 19. Breaking this apart, the House provides $20 million more for food than the Senate, $35 million more for CDER, $10 million more for CBER, $2 million more for CVM, $26 million more for CDRH, $10 million more for Office of the Commissioner, and $3 million more for rent items. The National Center for Toxicological Research is level-funded in both bills. (Note: Because of rounding in the House- and Senate-claimed amounts and rounding in the attached table, the House is $106 million more than the Senate, rather than the $104 million suggested by top-line numbers.)

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