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Advocacy at a Glance

March 6, 2020

Topline: Congress quickly appropriated nearly $8 billion in supplemental FY 20 funding to combat the coronavirus. FDA received $61 million in the package. We have a newly-scheduled webinar for March 12 and our Hill Day is March 18. Please join us for both events. This week’s Analysis and Commentary addresses four questions we were asked this week about FDA funding and how Alliance members can make a difference on FDA’s behalf.

FDA Gains $61 Million in Coronavirus Spending Package. The House and Senate passed a supplemental spending bill that contains $7.8 billion in new discretionary spending that would address the threat of a coronavirus pandemic and another “$500 million over 10 years” from mandatory funds to be used for remote health care. As described by Roll Call, the largest allotment from the $8.3 billion package is $3.1 billion that will go to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to stockpile medical supplies, conduct research and development, and help community health clinics. CDC will receive $1 billion for preparedness grants to states and there is $1.25 billion in the bill for global health programs. The President signed the legislation on Friday morning, March 6.

The FDA portion of the funding is $61 million in “no-year” monies for the agency to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including the development of necessary medical countermeasures and vaccines, advanced manufacturing for medical products, the monitoring of medical product supply chains, and related administrative activities.” (source: see page 2 here; discussed further in this week’s Analysis and Commentary).

Alliance Members Have Opportunity to Review Draft Explanation of the Alliance “Ask”. The Alliance Board has set our FY 21 “ask” for FDA at $120 million more than the FY 20 enacted level. An explanatory statement is now drafted and will be reviewed by the Board next week. Any Alliance member who would like to review and provide brief comments on the draft should contact Steven immediately. Comments will be due by COB on Monday and, until the Board adopts the document, the text must be held in confidence. How the Board decided upon this specific ask is discussed in the response to the second question in this week’s Analysis and Commentary.

Alliance Hill Day On March 18; You Don’t Have to Be an FDA Expert to Participate. The Alliance’s most important member activity is our annual Hill Day, which will be on Wednesday, March 18. It is an opportunity to advocate for a strong, well-funded FDA and educate Congress about FDA’s far-reaching mission and responsibilities. We have more than 60 meetings scheduled for that day, so we need broad participation from every stakeholder group and organization. Please sign up with Reed and let him know if you will be available all day or only in the morning or afternoon. Non-members are welcome to join us.

We are often asked: “Do I have to be an expert on FDA to participate in Hill Day?” To the contrary, you just need to be able to fill in the blank in: “My organization supports increased funding for FDA because ….” For those who want to know more, we have scheduled a webinar next week that will provide background on FDA and how it is funded (see next item).

“FDA Appropriations 101” Webinar Set for March 12 at 1:00 p.m.  Now that we know the President’s FY 21 budget request for FDA and in anticipation of the Alliance’s Hill Day on March 18, the Alliance is pleased to offer a new webinar that will cover all the basics (and more) about how FDA is funded and about prospects and schedule for FY 21 funding. The webinar will feature Jessica Schulken, former Senate Appropriations Committee staffer and now with The Russell Group, and Steven Grossman, the Alliance’s Deputy Executive Director.

To RSVP and receive call-in information, please contact Reed. If you have specific questions you would like addressed during the webinar, contact Steven directly. In addition to Alliance members, this event is open to the media, prospective members, and non-members who are planning to participate in the Alliance’s Hill Day on March 18.

FDA Commissioner Hahn to Testify Before House Ag/FDA Appropriations Subcommittee on March 11. Dr. Hahn will be testifying in the House on the FY 21 budget request on March 11 at 11:00 a.m. He will be the only witness. The hearing will be in 2362-A Rayburn House Office Building and will also be webcast (link here). His testimony will be discussed in the Alliance webinar on March 12 (story immediately above) and will be covered in next week’s Friday Update. To the best of our knowledge, no date has been announced for his Senate testimony.

Deadlines for Congressional Testimony Announced. The House Ag/FDA Appropriations Subcommittee has announced that public testimony will be due no later than COB on Tuesday, March 31. Details on submitting testimony are here. The Senate Ag/FDA Appropriations Subcommittee has announced that public testimony will be due no later than COB on Monday, April 6. Details on submitting testimony are here. Alliance members interested in submitting testimony should contact Roger or Liz. We can provide advice on the process and help with Alliance materials that will support your efforts.

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