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A Word from House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rogers

February 4, 2011


An Alliance Membership Meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 8, at 2:00 pm.

Special Guest Speakers: The Alliance is pleased to announce that two members of FDA’s senior leadership team will be guest speakers at the membership meeting:

  • Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods
  • Jesse Goodman, Chief Scientist, Deputy Commissioner for Science and Public Health

The full membership meeting will occur subsequent to the guest speakers.


The Alliance has three full days of meetings next week with the offices of members of the Agriculture Appropriations subcommittees in which we plan to raise concern over potential cuts to FDA’s budget. The meetings are particularly focused on the House Side.


Yesterday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan announced the budget ceilings the House will be using in considering the FY 11 appropriations (known as the 302(a) allocation). Subsequently, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers announced the amounts being given to each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees (known as 302(b) allocations). Here is a link to his media release (“Chairman Rogers outlines subcommittee spending cuts for Fiscal Year 2011“). Each subcommittee chair has committed to making the cuts necessary to meet their specific allocations.

For domestic and international spending — which excludes defense, homeland security and veterans affairs — Chairman Rogers is proposing $58 billion less than the President’s FY 11 request and $43 billion less than the enacted levels of spending for FY 10. (Because Defense would get an additional $10 billion over its FY 10 base, the headline number is -$32 billion, but that number is irrelevant for domestic discretionary programs.)

As indicated in the chart below, full-year spending for programs in the Agriculture subcommittee is proposed to be cut by 14%. An across-the-board cut is not expected. Rather, Chairman Rogers has directed each subcommittee to perform a line-by-line review of all program funding, with the intent that some programs will receive more and some less.

Because almost half of the year will be over by the time the current continuing resolution expires on March 4, the impact of the proposed cuts will greater than the percentages given in the chart. For example, a 14% decrease reduces a $100 million program to $86 million. However, if the program spent $50 million in the first half of the year, then there will only be $36 million to spend in the second half of the year. This would constitute a 28% cut in the amount the agency would have available to spend in the second half of the year.

Here is FDA’s situation:

  • FDA’s FY 11 funding level has not been set. The agency’s actual number will be set by the House Agriculture appropriations subcommittee as they decide how to find $3.2 billion in savings (below FY 10) for the current fiscal year.
  • Any actions taken by the House would still need concurrence from the Senate and the President before they would take effect.
  • Anticipating House and Senate differences and tough negotiations, many commentators are suggesting there will eventually be another short-term CR to give Congress an additional 2 weeks to work out their differences.
  • When agencies are operating under a partial year Continuing Resolution, they usually do not spend half of the amount in the first 6 months of the fiscal year. This is likely to be true of all programs in the Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee’s jurisdiction. To some degree, this would lessen the impact of a full year’s cuts being spread across 6 months.
    • Some press reports have indicated that FDA is a target (e.g., AP story “House Republicans move to slash domestic programs.”)
    • This may prove to be true. However, in this instance, we think the media was just basing this on the size of the House Agriculture appropriations subcommittee cuts and the fact that Chairman Rogers’ chart says “Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA.”

The following table outlines the spending limits and cuts announced by Chairman Rogers for each Appropriations Subcommittee for the CR:

We will continue to keep you apprised as we have more information. Please let Ladd or me know if you have any questions.

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


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