Reid says Senate is waiting on Republicans on FDA amendments

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Reid had originally scheduled a vote on the motion to proceed at 11 a.m. but then moved it to 12:30 p.m. A little after that time, he moved the vote to 2:15 p.m. A day earlier Reid warned that an agreement had to be made Wednesday on which amendments to the legislation, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (S. 3187), the Senate would consider. Reid said he would file cloture if no agreement was reached and possibly move on to different legislation.

But on Wednesday Reid expressed strong optimism throughout the morning that Democrats and Republicans were close on moving the legislation forward.

"On this side we've cleared everything so the disputes now are with Republicans on a Republican amendment," Reid said when announcing the 2:15 procedural vote. "We're willing to do whatever's necessary on that amendment. So I hope we can get this worked out."

Reid added time was running out on passing the legislation.

"We're nearing a time when we can't prolong this anymore," Reid said.

Also on Wednesday morning, Reid and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) made a deal on extending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is set to expire at the end of May. Reid and Vitter agreed to consider a five-year NFIP reform bill in June. Also, as part of the agreement, Vitter will stop pushing to amend a five-year reform plan to the FDA bill.

The FDA bill establishes a user-fee program for drug companies applying for FDA approval for generic and biosimilar drugs. It also reauthorizes an existing user-fee program that subsidizes additional staff to speed up the application process for medical devices and brand-name drugs.