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What’s in the Senate Omnibus?

December 15, 2010

On Tuesday afternoon, Senator Inouye, as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee released the text of a proposed FY 11 Omnibus Appropriations bill. This would fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, until September 30, 2011. The Senate may take the bill up within the next few days. Inouye believes he has the 60 votes to overcome procedural hurdles and pass the bill.  However, there is no certainty that the 60 votes will be there.

Should the bill pass the Senate, it will be conveyed back to the House as a substitute for the full-year Continuing Resolution (CR) passed by the House last week. It is unclear whether the House will accept the text of the Senate Omnibus bill or request a conference committee to work out the differences.

The current short-term CR extends through midnight on Saturday, December 18. Congress does not want to work the following week, but should the time be needed, a 2 or 3-day extension is possible. It is also  possible that there will be no agreement for a full-year funding bill. In that case, another short-term CR will probably extend government funding through February.

Key provisions in the Senate Omnibus:

  • FDA receives $37.5 million more than the President’s request.  The full-year Continuing Resolution that passed the House last week is funded at the President’s request. Of this amount added by the Senate: CFSAN would receive an additional $13 million, CDER would receive an additional $19.5 million and the Center for Veterinary Medicine would receive $5 million. (See pages 71 to 75 of the bill.)
  • The transfer of $170 million from HHS to FDA for medical countermeasures work is authorized (See page 1020.)
  • The Senate food safety provisions that passed in the House CR, have been inserted into the Omnibus bill. (See page 1685.)  

Alliance comments that can be used in internal documents and with the media:

  • “In the aggregate, the Senate bill has a little more money for discretionary programs that the House. We are pleased that this Senate draft uses that opportunity to give FDA $37.5 million more than the President’s request.”
  • “No matter how FY 11 appropriations ultimately turns out, it is an important signal that the Senate agrees with the House that FDA need more funds to meet its growing responsibilities.”

To see the Senate bill, please click here.

To see an explanation of Ag/FDA portions, please click here.

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