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Obama administration states opposition to FDA budget cut

By Mark Astley , 26-Jun-2012

The Obama administration has stated its opposition to a fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget proposal that could see the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suffer a budget cut worth millions of dollars.

Earlier this month, FoodQualityNews.com reported that the FDA look set to receive a budget cut of $16.3m under the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which was given initial approval by the US House Appropriations Subcommittee.

Under the bill, the FDA will receive total funding of $2.5bn in discretionary funding – topped up to $3.8bn through industry user-fee collections.

The Statement of Administration Policy, which was issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget, outlined the President’s opposition to the budget proposal and the damage these “harmful cuts” could do to areas such as food safety.

The Office of Management and Budget, which assists the President in the preparation of the federal budget, issued the Statement to inform Congress of the White House’s official position on the proposed legislation.

The bill still requires approval from the Full House Appropriations Committee.

Supports “robust funding”

“The Administration strongly supports robust funding for FDA to continue implementation of the Food Safety Modernisation Act, improve oversight of imports, and invest in the development of medical products including medical countermeasures,” said the Statement of Administration Policy.

“The Administration requested $4.5bn in total resources for FDA and the bill provides $3.8bn, does not include new proposed user fees, and rescinds previous appropriations,” the statement added.

The President’s FY 2013 budget, which was published in February 2012, requested a 17% budget increase for the FDA, taking total funding to cover operations between 1 October 2012 and 30 September 2013 to $4.5bn.

This included an additional $253m to fund the Transforming Food Safety Initiative. This was, however, overlooked in the bill.

“The Administration urges the House to adopt the new user fees proposed in the FY 2013 Budget and restore FDA’s budget authority,” said the statement.

“Necessary expenses”

Under the Bill, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) could also suffer a cut in funding of 9% on FY 2012.

According to the Bill, a budget of $996m will cover the FSIS’s “necessary expenses.”

“The bill severely undermines key investments in financial oversight in a manner that would cripple Wall Street reform. It also imposes harmful cuts in rural economic develop, renewable energy development, nutrition programs, food safety and international food aid,” the Office of Management and Budget added.

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