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House Passes CR Funding FDA for FY 11

December 9, 2010

Late last night, the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would cover FY 11 funding until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2011.  In this process, FDA received more support than many other agencies.  Chairwoman DeLauro and other appropriators heard our message that FDA needs to be an exception to budget-cutting because of its complex and growing responsibilities and years of underfunding.  There are three parts of the bill that affect FDA:

APPROPRIATED FUNDING: Most federal agencies will be funded at the same level as FY 10. FDA, along with a select list of other agencies and programs, was chosen for separate and better treatment. As a result, the House-passed CR would provide FDA funding at the same level as the President’s Request. This is a $158 million increase in appropriated funding over the agency’s FY 10 funding, almost a 7% increase. (These numbers exclude user fees.)

Our traditional measure is that FDA needs 5% to 6% growth each year to sustain current program and staffing levels. The agency’s requirements in FY 11 might be a little lower if Congress adopts the pay-freeze the President proposed for government workers (also contained in the House-passed CR). Thus, at a minimum, the President’s request will allow some program growth. It will not, however, come anywhere near covering the amount by which FDA’s responsibilities and commitments have grown over the last year.

NOTE: This is a House-passed bill. It would provide acceptable levels of FDA funding for FY 11, particularly in the context of lower funding levels for most other federal programs. The Senate’s plans are not known. There have been public reports that they are planning an omnibus appropriations bill, but no text of the proposed bill has been circulated.

MEDICAL COUNTERMEASURE FUNDING:  The House-passed CR would also make it possible for FDA to spend up to $170 million additional dollars to assist the development and approval of medical countermeasures that would be needed in the case of a chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear (CBRN) attack. While it is the Administration’s intent that these monies be spent expeditiously, they are “available until expended” and will not necessarily be obligated this fiscal year. Further, it is not yet clear whether these monies will be treated as one-time monies or become part of FDA’s base appropriation.

FOOD SAFETY LEGISLATION: Last week, Congress was close to final action on food safety reform legislation (S. 510), but became entangled in some procedural issues. The House is trying to resolve this situation by making slight changes to the Senate-passed bill and adding it as a separate part of the CR. It is unclear whether this will work or be subject to other procedural objections when the House-passed CR reaches the Senate.

WE WILL KEEP YOU POSTED AS THIS  DEVELOPS FURTHER.  THE EXISTING SHORT-TERM CR EXPIRES DECEMBER 18, SO WE BELIEVE THIS WILL BE RESOLVED WITHIN A WEEK. IT IS STILL POSSIBLE THAT CONGRESS WILL PASS A SHORT-TERM CR THAT WOULD EXTEND FUNDING THROUGH SOMETIME IN FEBRUARY.

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