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CR 3081 and Congressional Intent

October 1, 2010

ADVOCACY

White House-Domestic Policy Council Meeting.  We are pleased to report that this past week the Alliance had a good meeting with the Domestic Policy Council regarding the need to increase FDA’s resources.

Alliance Board/Annual Membership Meetings

  • Board Meeting: Thursday, October 14 at 2:00 pm
  • Annual Member Meeting: Wednesday, October 27th at 2:00 pm

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

It’s October 1, the first day of the new fiscal year. A continuing resolution (CR) has been signed into law. As a result, the government is open and has funding through December 3.

Twice in recent years, our champions on Capitol Hill have been able to secure an increase for FDA in CRs that otherwise level-funded the entire government.  Not this time, at least not for the first two months of the fiscal year.  It is important to understand why.

One of the Alliance’s themes this year has been the need for FDA to be an exception, that the agency must receive funding increases to do its job, regardless of the overall budget situation.  There is a lot of support for this in Congress. We expect to receive serious attention anytime Congress debates its funding priorities.

At least for this first round of the CR, that didn’t happen. The reason is fairly simply: Congress put this CR together without acknowledging any funding priorities. The only exception proves this. A small increase was put into the CR to fund more oil rig inspections in the Gulf of Mexico. I can’t tell if the $25M increase is to pay for cost overruns this past year or to give Members a basis for saying they acted to prevent future disasters.

We believe we can win the debate (to get increased funding for FDA), but only if discussions occur.

When Congress returns in mid-November and looks at FY 11 funding again, we believe there will be an opportunity to make our case that FDA should receive more funds. However, it is only a guess that this debate will occur before December 3. Congress may decide to pass the same CR to cover the period from December 3 to February 4.  Republicans, in particular, favor deferring all decisions until the new Congress, where they believe they will have more votes.

Meantime, FDA management is reviewing contingency plans, hoping to preserve its priorities and maximize output. Their ability to make commitments (hiring, new programming, grants, contracts) will be restricted. In addition, they will not want to create a situation where they make obligations now that they will not be able to fund later in the year. The pinch is particularly acute at FDA because over 80% of the agency’s budget are people-related costs: salary, benefits, rent, IT, travel, support services. FDA cannot delay spending, as NIH might, by waiting a few extra months to make grants.

Be assured, the Alliance will continue to be a public voice for more FDA funding. We will keep up the drumbeat. Eventually the time will come when Congress is ready to address its funding priorities.  

For a summary of the CR, please click here.

For the full text of the CR, please click here.

Note: This analysis and commentary is written by Steven Grossman, Deputy Executive Director of the Alliance.

BOARD NOMINATIONS

The Alliance is asking for nominations for individuals who would like to be considered for membership on the Alliance’s Board for the term commencing on January 1, 2011 and ending December 31, 2013. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else, please e-mail acurry@akingump.com .  Please e-mail your name and contact information if you are interested within the next 10 days.

RELEVANT MEDIA

 

EVENTS

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