The Alliance Succeeds Because of Its Members’ Help and Support
As we’ve explored a number of times, FDA’s funding fate is decided by a combination of macro and micro budgetary factors.
Macro budgetary issues are the larger ones that affect the entire federal budget or only discretionary spending or only non-defense budget. Decisions on these matters are made independently of the impact they have on FDA. The current set (FY 14) macro budgetary issues revolves around:
- The difference between the House and Senate budget bills (about $90 billion in FY 14 discretionary spending)
- The actual spending levels adopted by Congress in appropriations bills (none have been finalized yet)
- The vagaries of funding levels under a likely continuing resolutions, and
- The very real threat of yet another sequester in FY 14.
The needs of even most cabinet departments are too small to change the macro debate and few agencies are given a second thought. Nonetheless, the consequences for FDA can be great. That $90 billion difference between House and Senate total discretionary spending level translates into a $80 million dollar difference for FDA between the higher Senate levels and the lower House levels.
Although we can comment upon the macro issues and try to steer them to be more favorable toward FDA, they are largely out of our reach. The need for increased funding for FDA will not cause Congress to decide on higher spending levels, abandon sequester, or set the Continuing Resolution at a higher spending level.
However, this does not mean that advocacy on FDA funding is futile. Far from it. FDA still competes for funds within the agriculture/FDA appropriations bill. What Congress and particularly appropriators think about FDA — and its needs — is what drives the FDA budget. This micro budgetary fight exists within the macro budgetary situation where overall spending levels dictate that most federal programs will be flat funded or cut.
In FY 13 and thus far through FY 14, FDA is bucking the overall trend. Within the agriculture/FDA appropriations, FDA was virtually alone in receiving an increase. Ultimately, because of the sequester, FDA had less to spend in FY 13 and in FY 12, but by starting at a higher appropriated level, the agency had more to spend than it would have otherwise.
The Alliance exists because we have proven over a number of years: we can make a difference in this micro budgetary competition. With your help, we will continue to be a strong voice for the appropriated funding needs of FDA.
Note: This analysis and commentary is written by Steven Grossman, the Deputy Executive Director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA.