Good Day BIO: What we're watching in Washington D.C.
February 3, 2023
Ending the week with what BIO experts are watching in Washington during 2023 on both health care policy and agricultural and environmental policy. We look forward to seeing you next week in New York, where we’ll be bringing you coverage of the BIO CEO & Investor…
The only newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics, and policy
February 3, 2023
Ending the week with what BIO experts are watching in Washington during 2023 on both health care policy and agricultural and environmental policy. We look forward to seeing you next week in New York, where we’ll be bringing you coverage of the BIO CEO & Investor Conference—it’s not too late to register! (640 words, 3 minutes, 12 seconds)
What we're watching in Washington: health care policy edition
With the 118th Congress picking up steam, we spoke to BIO’s Federal Government Relations team about what to expect in health care policymaking over the coming months.
The big takeaway: With Republicans taking control of the House and Democrats controlling the Senate, “we must look to bipartisan solutions,” said Aiken Hackett, BIO’s Vice President of Federal Government Relations.
“Divided government can be good,” she added, citing her hope it will ultimately prevent the legitimization of “non-starter” policy proposals and empower “productive members of Congress who champion bipartisanship, resulting in thoughtful and lasting policy outcomes.”
New Members = new biotech champions? “We will also continue our efforts to further educate Congress—especially the 84 freshman members—on the adverse impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on innovation and future biopharmaceutical investment,” said Hackett, and “emphasize how the IRA prevents the innovation needed to create future cures for patients.” At the same time, we expect bipartisan interest in looking at pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and the vertical integration of health plans – and the impact they have on patient affordability.
The big picture: It’s important that members of Congress, particularly new ones, “understand biotechnology as an industry and that we highlight the exciting work of our member companies across the sector,” Hackett concluded.
More Health News:
RealClearPolicy (Opinion): Senator Sanders is mistaken about price controls “Sen. Sanders is right that too many Americans struggle to afford their medicines. But his proposed solutions ignore very real trade-offs and do nothing to address the middlemen driving costs higher,” writes BIO’s Chief Policy Officer, John Murphy, explaining how price controls would hurt innovation and patients.
What we're watching in Washington: agriculture and environment edition
We spoke to BIO’s agricultural and environmental policy experts about what to expect this year regarding policy and BIO’s priorities.
The big takeaway: “With so many new members on the House Agriculture Committee, it will be critical for BIO to educate them, but it also provides an opportunity to find new champions who recognize the potential of ag biotech to address climate change and strengthen food security,” said Erick Lutt, Senior Director of Federal Government Relations at BIO.
But it won’t be easy. The House Agriculture Committee has many new members on both sides (12 new Republicans + 11 first-term Democrats). Plus, there could be clashes between conservative House Members seeking to slash spending on food assistance and climate initiatives, which are non-starters in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The biomanufacturing initiative: BIO plans to further engage on the implementation of the executive order on biotechnology and biomanufacturing to incentivize the adoption of innovative, sustainable technologies and practices, and streamline and expedite regulatory pathways for breakthrough agricultural technology and biobased manufacturing.
The Farm Bill: Ahead of the Oct. 1 expiration, BIO will advocate for strengthening key programs during the reauthorization, including improvements to the BioPreferred and biorefinery programs in the energy tile and recognition of the importance biotech as a solution for climate change and food security.
Holding Mexico accountable: BIO will continue to lead industry efforts to address Mexico’s disregard for a science-based regulatory process for ag biotech, particularly its plan to restrict imports of biotech corn. BIO plans to work with Congress to ensure the administration gets Mexico to adhere to its U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) commitments.
The big picture: It’s important that the House and Senate collaborate to produce legislation that tackles climate change, champions American farmers, strengthens food security, and bolsters biotech innovation.
On National Women Physicians Day, we celebrate Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first Black woman to earn an M.D. in the United States. Crumpler was also one of the first Black medical authors in the country.
President Biden's Friday: Visiting Philadelphia with the Vice President to announce $500 million in federal funds to upgrade Philadelphia's water system as part of a larger federal effort to replace lead pipes, per The Hill.
What's Happening on Capitol Hill: No hearings in the House or Senate.
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