Aides Doubt Drug Safety Bill Will Be Reconciled This Week
Congress this week likely will not finalize a bill that would reauthorize the Prescription Drug User Fee Act and expand FDA oversight of prescription drug safety, despite a requirement that the agency distribute layoff notices in the event that lawmakers do not complete the legislation before the August recess, CongressDaily reports.
A House Energy and Commerce Committee aide on Tuesday confirmed that a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill will not occur this week.
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee ranking member Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) also believes that Congress likely will not finalize the legislation this week, an aide said. In a letter to Senate leaders last week, Enzi raised concerns that the layoff notices would prompt FDA employees to seek other jobs.
House Chief Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has raised similar concerns and said FDA will distribute the layoff notices as early as this month.
However, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said, "We think the gentleman's characterization of the timing of that is a bit of a stretch."
Democrats have indicated they are not very concerned about the layoff notices because they believe FDA employees will ignore them with the legislation so close to finalization, CongressDaily reports (Edney, CongressDaily, 8/1).