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Advocacy at a Glance

November 15, 2019

Topline: Congressional negotiations continue on FY 20 funding, with the possibility that a deal is close. Meantime, the next CR will extend to December 20, and there is no longer a threat of a shutdown when the current CR expires on November 21.

No Shutdown on November 21; New Continuing Resolution to Extend Funding to December 20. Congressional leaders and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin (on behalf of the Administration) have reportedly reached agreement on a further Continuing Resolution through December 20. Secretary Mnuchin said that there is no intention on the White House’s part to have a shutdown.

Deal or No Deal: Congressional Negotiations on FY 20 Funding Continue. On Thursday (November 14), Politico reported that Congressional negotiators and the Administration were close to a deal on 302(b) subcommittee allocations, which might be announced on Friday (November 15), but more likely next week (as reported by CQ/Roll Call). No specific details are available.

Reportedly, one feature of the agreement would involve adjustments in this summer’s budget deal (BBA). For example, additional monies (or emergency funds allowed to pay for appropriated programs) would be used to resolve the allegation that increases in Homeland Security funding were coming at the expense of L-HHS programs. Another feature, reportedly, is that disagreements about border wall funding would be resolved within the affected subcommittees within their revised 302(b) allocation. For example, negotiations on Homeland Security monies — while set in the aggregate — could still bog down later over the amount of border wall funding versus funding for other homeland security programs.

Moving resolution of border wall funding to the specific subcommittees would allow conferees to start negotiations on the unaffected appropriations bills. However, it is unclear whether those unaffected bills would be held back until the bills that include border wall funding are resolved.

FDA’s Prospects When Conferees Start to Negotiate FY 20 Funding. 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. (Note: Because of rounding in the House- and Senate-claimed amounts and rounding in the attached table, the House is shown as $106 million more than the Senate, rather than the $104 million suggested by top-line numbers.)

Senate Confirmation Hearing for Dr. Hahn is Scheduled for November 20. The President’s nominee for FDA Commissioner is Dr. Stephen Hahn, the Chief Medical Executive of the MD Anderson Cancer Center. His full bio has been widely circulated in trade publications. His Senate hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, November 20 at 10:00 a.m. in 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building. There will be a live webcast (here).

The Alliance Will Be Holding More Webinars in the Future:  What Topics Would You Like to Hear? More than 60 Alliance members and media participated in our November 6 webinar on the history and current status of FDA appropriations. The PowerPoint deck used for the webinar is here. If you have ideas for future Alliance webinars, please send them to Steven Grossman.

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