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How CR 3081 Will Affect the FDA

September 30, 2010

Late on Wednesday night, the Senate passed HR 3081, containing the Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011. It will continue government funding through December 3, 2010. After passage of the legislation, the Senate adjourned and will re-convene on November 15. A few hours later, the House passed the same bill and then also adjourned. The bill will be signed by the President before midnight on Thursday, September 30, when the current fiscal year ends.

According to the Senate summary of HR 3081, all government agencies will be continue to be funded at their FY 10 level. The only federal program to receive an increase is the office responsible for inspections of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The $25 million extra that they will receive is fully paid for from accounts that did not spend all of their money in FY 2010.

FDA’s ceiling under the CR is 1/365th of the FY 10 appropriation to spend each day between now and Dec. 3. Whether this is actually managed by week or month doesn’t affect the pinch this will create. Pay raises and any increases in the cost of benefits and rent will have to be paid for from that amount. As a result, at least a selective hiring freeze appears likely, so that FDA can cover the costs of these new demands on what is essentially last year’s budget. Separate directions from the Office of Personnel Management may impose even more restrictive hiring policies.

The FDA cannot know what funding it will get on December 3. It could be more, or less or at the same rate as the current CR. Regardless of what personnel policies are in place, FDA will not want to hire people or fund grants or contracts if they might not be able to cover the ongoing costs later in the year.

The Alliance has issued a media release addressing this issue and will continue to press Congress to appropriate more funds to FDA in the next CR.

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