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FDA’s FY 21 Appropriation: What’s Happening When?

February 1, 2020

Timing: The State of the Union (SOTU) on February 4 will incorporate President Trump’s priorities for FY 21 programs. OMB is likely to release the President’s FY 21 formal budget request  on the following Monday, February 10. Individual agencies and Departments will also release their own budget summaries and program justifications.

Subcommittee hearings will probably start soon thereafter — probably in late February and throughout March. Subcommittee and full committee mark-ups will probably start the first week of April, or, more likely, the week of April 20, after Congress returns from Easter recess. Mark-ups will continue into May and will continue in June or July if needed.

The House has announced its expectation that all 12 appropriations bills will come to the floor in June. The Senate usually lags the House, but with the budget ceilings already in place for FY 21, they may be able to move more quickly. In any case, no dates have been announced for any of these events and it remains to be seen whether practical or political considerations might delay or accelerate the process.

Planned Alliance Activities related to FY 21 Appropriations: Once the budget is available on February 10, the Alliance’s immediate goal is to compile and distribute the Alliance’s analysis. Not only is this essential for our members, but the media relies on us for the details. Here are the main activities, thereafter:

  • Pulling together the Alliance “ask”: This year’s Alliance “ask” will be built around the theme: FDA’s growing responsibilities require a budget that grows.

In some years, the Administration has requested substantial funds for FDA and we have followed their lead (although we usually have to propose more money for food than they have requested). In other years, the Administration request has been extremely disappointing and we have focused on convincing the Hill that FDA should be an exception to budget cuts. Every year, the Administration request helps us determine an Alliance “ask” that is aspirational without being so unrealistic that we are not taken seriously.

  • Meeting with Appropriations Committee staff and others: On February 12, the Alliance is scheduled to meet with the professional staff of both the House and Senate Ag/FDA appropriations subcommittees. Our Hill lobby day is scheduled for March 18 and we expect to again have 60+ meetings in one day.
  • Submitting testimony and request forms: The House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees will set deadlines for the submission of FY 21 requests by Congressmen and Senators.  Those deadlines vary by Subcommittee, and are usually later in the Senate than in the House.

In anticipation of these subcommittee deadlines, each Congressman and Senator will set their own internal deadlines for the submission of appropriation requests to their offices.  These deadlines are earlier than the subcommittee deadlines and most offices have their own form that needs to be completed for each specific appropriation request.

Additionally, the Alliance will be submitting statements for the record of the House and Senate hearings on FDA appropriations. The House deadline for submission of testimony is usually mid-March and the Senate is usually in April, but may be earlier this year.

Editorial note: The Analysis and Commentary section is written by Steven Grossman, Deputy Executive Director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA.

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