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Environment for Appropriations Still Difficult and Tight

January 3, 2014

Here is what we know: House and Senate staff are negotiating final appropriations bills, and the 12 subcommittees must each stay within a ceiling that they have been given (so-called 302 (b) allocations). These numbers have not been released, but are critical to how much flexibility there is to increase funding for priority programs. To the extent that staff can reach agreements, those are likely to be final. Where there are disagreements, the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate appropriations committees will meet to resolve them. If House leadership wants a vote on Friday, January 10 without waiving procedural rules, this means that the appropriations bill will probably need to be filed Tuesday night.

It seems certain that the final product will be an omnibus bill requiring only an up or down vote in the two Houses. Ideally, all 12 appropriations bills — including all the specifics — will be wrapped together into one large bill with some additional provisions that apply to all agencies. In reality, Congress won’t reach agreement on all 12 appropriations bills and some agencies uncovered by an appropriations bill will be funded by a continuing resolution that will be included in the omnibus bill.  Based on the recent past, the Agriculture appropriations bill (of which FDA is a part) is likely to be one of those that will be completed.

When the text of the omnibus appropriations bill is released, probably the middle of next week, our first question (and yours) will be how did FDA do. To assess how well the agency does, here is a scorecard of FDA’s situation going in to the negotiations. Remember that even with the Ryan-Murray budget agreement, the environment for appropriations remains difficult and tight.

FDA Funding
Note: budget authority only, no user fees

FY 12
Final

FY 13
Actual

Post-rescission,
post-sequester

FY 13
Enacted

Post-rescission, pre-sequester

FY 14
Proposed under
House/Senate bills
(compared to
FY 13 enacted level)

All BA approps
Total (no user fees)

$2.506 billion

$ 2.386  billion

$2.461 billion

H: $2.485 billion
(+ $24 million)

S: $2.563 billion
(+ $102 million)

Note: This week’s analysis and commentary was written by Steven Grossman, the deputy executive director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA.

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