Speaker Ryan to Change Budget Amendment Process

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is expected to make it more difficult to offer amendments to spending measures brought to the floor. At a House GOP conference meeting last week, Ryan proposed requiring that members submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are printed in the Congressional Record. Under the current open rule, members of either party can offer unlimited amendments without giving advance notice. The change would prevent Republican leadership from being blindsided by politically volatile amendments, like Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s (D-N.Y.) amendment that would have prohibited LGBT discrimination by federal contractors, which caused chaos on the floor during debate of the Veterans Affairs spending bill this year. The change would also allow members to better understand what they are voting on. The amendment requirement would go into effect after the Memorial Day recess.

Zika Update

Congress adjourned on Thursday for its weeklong Memorial Day recess without finalizing funding to address the spread of the Zika virus. The House, however, has appointed its members to the conference committee to reconcile the differences in each chambers funding package. Reps. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Kay Granger (R-Texas), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), and David Valadao (R-Calif.) were appointed from the Republican side, and Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), José Serrano (D-N.Y.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) were appointed for the Democrats.

Biden to Host Moonshoot Summit

Vice President Biden announced plans to host a national conference on cancer research this summer. The daylong National Cancer Moonshot Summit will feature scientists, oncologists, nurses, donors and patients, and will be held on June 29 at Howard University. The Summit will focus on cancer prevention strategies, early detection, and increasing access to treatment and data sharing. Executive Director of the Moonshot Greg Simon hopes that the day will be an opportunity for stakeholders to form collaborations in support of the moonshot. The White House is also trying to organize small summits throughout the country – at least one in each state – that will be hosted by regional Department of Health and Human Services officials.

The End of the Antibiotic Era?

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) have confirmed that a strain of E. coli resistant to antibiotics of last resort was found last month in a Pennsylvania woman. Health officials say this discovery could mark the end of the antibiotic era, and will likely force health care providers to begin using treatments other than antibiotics for infections. The bacteria have already been seen in patients in China and South America.

Lawmakers Question FDA’s Off-Label Policies

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.) have written to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) questioning the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approach to regulating off-label communications. Recent litigation has resulted in questions about the FDA’s authority to restrict such communication, and the lawmakers are “increasingly perplexed by the agency’s unwillingness or inability to publically clarify its current thinking on these issues in a coherent manner.” The lawmakers stress that they are open to working with the agency to modernize current law to align off-label use with 21st century medicine.

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