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Advocacy at a Glance

May 21, 2021

Top Line: Hill Day with Senate staff on May 25 and 26, with Alliance members invited to participate. The President’s detailed budget now expected to be released on May 28, with public witness statements due in the Senate on the same day and the House on June 1. Alliance webinars with CDER Director Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni on May 25, and FDA’s food and animal health leadership on June 8. Alliance members are encouraged to submit testimony to the Appropriations Committees in support of FDA receiving “no less than $200 million above the FY 21 BA funding level.” This week’s Analysis and Commentary discusses Alliance messaging in the context of next week’s Senate meetings.

Hill Day Part 2: Meetings with Senate Staff on May 25 and 26. Please Sign Up. We have scheduled Senate meetings for May 25 and 26 to refresh Senate staff on FDA’s enormous and diverse responsibilities, its many successes, and its growing resource needs to fulfill its mission. Our key points are here and this week’s Analysis and Commentary discusses our messaging in the context of next week’s Senate meetings.

We are looking for participants who are available for one or more meetings on those days. The goal is to involve the most members possible, while assuring balanced teams of no more than six people, including the team leader. As a result, some volunteers may have only a few meetings, while others may be involved in a larger number. So, please let us know by May 21 (COB TODAY) if you expect to have time to participate in our Hill Day. For more information and to sign up, please contact Reed Diskey.

President’s Budget Release Now May 28/Congressional Testimony Due to Appropriations Committees at the End of May. The White House has announced that the President’s Budget Request will be released on May 28, a day later than previously scheduled. In the same timeframe, Senate testimony is due on May 28 and House testimony on June 1. The Alliance will submit testimony on why FDA needs robust support and a significant bump in funding in FY 22. We encourage all our Alliance members (and other FDA supporters) to do the same. Details on submitting testimony can be found here. Suggestions for what to say are in last week’s Analysis and Commentary. Alliance members seeking assistance with their testimony should contact Roger Szemraj.

The close timing means that we will write our testimony in advance and then make a few last-minute changes. Some Alliance members will want to coordinate with us on changes on May 28, while some groups may want to finalize and submit their testimony without reflecting the President’s request. Both approaches are valuable — having Congress know the breadth of stakeholder support for FDA is what matters most. To support our members, last week’s Analysis and Commentary provides guidance that Alliance members can customize to reflect their own points of view.

Upcoming Alliance Webinars. We continue to invite FDA leadership to address the Alliance membership and media. Last month’s webinar with Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock was a great success with 200 participants, including 20 media outlets. We have two more webinars scheduled and will announce more soon:

  • CDER Director Cavazzoni (May 25). For Alliance members and media: please join us for a virtual presentation by newly permanent CDER Director, Dr. Patrizia Cavazzoni on May 25 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m ET. Dr. Cavazzoni will discuss CDER’s priorities and resource needs, as well as data modernization, regulatory science, and product safety. To sign up, please register here. Note that this is soon — next Tuesday to be specific.
  • FDA’s Food and Animal Health Leadership (June 8). For Alliance members and media: please join us for a virtual presentation on June 8 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET by Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas, CFSAN Director Susan Mayne, and CVM Director Steven Solomon. To sign up, please register here.

If you are not an Alliance member and want to participate, please contact Steven Grossman to be our guest at these special events.

Testimony and Letters Supporting Public Health Funding Should Include FDA. We know that many organizations are pulling together testimony and sign-on letters supporting public health funding (NIH, CDC, etc.) We urge inclusion of the Alliance’s preliminary FY 22 “ask” in all such efforts. Specifically, we advocate that FDA receive “no less than $200 million above the FY 21 funding level for budget authority appropriations.” A sign-on letter being coordinated by Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Disease (LEAD Coalition) is still open for co-signers and those interested can contact ikremer@leadcoalition.org about participating. Our Alliance numbers are in their letter.

Update on Eric Lander Nomination to Lead White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. On a bipartisan (but not unanimous) vote, Dr. Lander’s nomination advanced from the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and should receive a floor vote soon. OSTP has never been led by a biomedical scientist and we envision high-level support from the President. We expect that Lander will help FDA as well as other public health agencies. Lander is a well-respected geneticist and the last of President Biden’s Cabinet nominees awaiting confirmation.

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