Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Garrett Eberhardt August 19, 2019

Hill Happenings

Border Wall Funding Could Complicate Senate Appropriations Process

Democrats in the House of Representatives have promised to reject any appropriations proposals from Senate Republicans that would detract from the non-defense discretionary funding levels for FY2020, which could put the issue of border wall funding once again on the forefront in finalizing appropriations legislation.

The President made an FY2020 budget request of $8.6 billion for the construction of a wall along the U.S. southern border and Senate Republicans have their eyes on cutting domestic spending for healthcare and education by $5 billion in order to fund it. In response, House Appropriations Committee spokesperson Evan Hollander has said, “Funding an unnecessary border wall by shortchanging education and health care is not acceptable to House Democrats, and we will fight to ensure that final allocations and bills reflect the American people’s priorities.”

Congress Seeks Answers on Generic Drug Price Fixing

House Committee on Oversight chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have sent letters to generic drug-makers Teva, Mylan and Heritage asking for answers regarding their coordination to stymie a 2014 probe by lawmakers into lockstep pricing. The letters ask for answers about the original price increase and an explanation for the "evasion and obstruction" that followed.

Administration Activities

Ryan White Notice of Funding Opportunity Announcement Released

HRSA has released the FY2020 Ending the HIV Epidemic:  A Plan for America — Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Parts A and B Notice of Funding Opportunity Announcement.  The purpose of the initiative is to focus resources in 48 counties, Washington, D.C., San Juan, Puerto Rico, and seven states to implement effective and innovative strategies, interventions, approaches, and services to reduce new HIV infections in the United States, reducing new HIV infections in the United States to less than 3,000 per year by 2030. Applications are due October 15, 2019.

HHS Senior Advisor on Drug Pricing Reform to Depart

John O'Brien, chief adviser to HHS Secretary Alex Azar on drug-pricing reform, is set to leave his post on August 22nd. In a statement, Secretary Azar said that "Prices and out-of-pocket costs are lower, and will go lower still, because of the work we did to execute on President Trump's American Patients First blueprint. John was one of the key architects of that blueprint, he was one of the key leaders in its execution, and we are grateful for his service." John Brooks, principal deputy director of the Center for Medicare, is set to step into O’Brien’s place as Senior Advisor on Drug Pricing.


HRSA will be hosting a technical assistance webinar for the Ending the HIV Epidemic:  A Plan for America — Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Parts A and B Notice of Funding Opportunity on August 27th from 2:00pm – 4:00pm EDT.

Job Opportunities                   

HIV/AIDS Section Chief – Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health is seeking a leader to manage its HIV/AIDS Section. The HIV/AIDS Section Chief will oversee 55 staff, an estimated $100 million budget, three core functional areas of Prevention and Surveillance, Care and Planning, and work with stakeholders, community-based organizations and those impacted by the HIV epidemic in Illinois.

Upcoming Conferences

Fast-Track Cities 2019

Fast-Track Cities 2019 will take place September 8-11, 2019, in London. This will be the first international conference of more than 270 cities and municipalities, including from the United States, that are accelerating their responses to HIV, tuberculosis, and viral hepatitis. The conference’s aim is to highlight successes achieved across the Fast-Track Cities network, address cross-cutting challenges faced by local stakeholders, and share best practices in accelerating urban AIDS responses, inclusive of co-infectious diseases and comorbid conditions. Registration is currently open.

News Bulletin

New York to ask CMS to expand Medicaid to some inmates

“New York will ask the Trump administration to allow inmates with substance abuse diagnoses and certain other conditions to receive Medicaid 30 days before their release from state prisons and county jails, a move that Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes will help keep people from overdosing on the streets and ou