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FDA Appropriations: Good News for FY 11…A Struggle in FY 12


FDA survived the FY 11 (current year) appropriations process with an increase of about $107 million. The agency was the only account in the agriculture appropriations bill that received more money in FY 11 than it did in FY 10. Very few domestic discretionary programs received increases.


FY 12 will be harder. All the “easy” cuts have been made. In the House, the appropriations subcommittees were given very small allocations for programs under their jurisdiction. As a result, the initial House position for FY 12 has included cuts to FDA.


On May 24, 2011, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the FY 2012 appropriations bill. The chairman’s mark—adopted by the subcommittee–proposed cutting the FDA’s budget authority (BA) appropriations by $285 million for Fiscal Year 2012 (starts October 1, 2011). This represents an 11.5% cut from the recently passed FY11 Continuing Resolution, which funds the government until September 30, 2011.


This cut represents a significant decrease and would put FDA’s appropriation below its FY10 number and more than $500 million below what the President requested for the agency in FY12.



FY 10  Final

FY11  Final  CR

FY 12 House Appropr. S/C  May 24, 2011

FY 12 President’s

Request—Feb.14, 2011

Budget Authority appropriations

 (no user fees)

$ 2.361 billion

  $2.457 billion

   includes -0.2% across the board cut of $5 million

$ 2.172 billion

$285M below FY 11

$2.744 billion



The House appropriation committee’s press release states that the overall cut in the agriculture appropriations bill is 13.4%. FDA’s 11.5% cut is slightly better, on average, than other agencies within the agriculture appropriations jurisdiction. Every area of FDA activity would sustain cutbacks under the House subcommittee bill. (For exact breakdown by Centers, go to: http://fdaalliance.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/fy-12-fda-approps-house-sc-by-center-5-24-11.pdf)


FDA will have about $288 million more in user fee income in FY 12, about the same amount by which budget authority appropriations have been cut. However, user fees are limited in scope and only pay for specific activities. The Alliance for a Stronger FDA does not consider an increase in user fees as justification–or an offset–for decreases in BA appropriations. I agree.

The Alliance for a Stronger FDA’s press release on the House subcommittee mark-up is at: http://strengthenfda.org/media/media-release-may-24-2011/. The Alliance is the only multi-stakeholder group working to increase FDA’s appropriations. Its 180 members represent consumer, patient and health professions’ groups, as well as companies, associations and individuals.

The Alliance will be working hard to restore funding to FDA when the full House Appropriations Committee marks up the subcommittee bill on May 31 or June 1, 2011. While the FDA’s case is strong, the pool of available monies is so small that there probably won’t be any progress at the full committee mark-up.

It is generally assumed the Senate will be more favorable to domestic discretionary programs. However, the situation is unclear.  The Senate is at an impasse with regard to a FY 12 Budget Resolution…and the appropriations subcommittees have not yet been given allocations on how much they can spend.

The Senate may start to move on appropriations bills in June or early July. More likely there will be no action until the House and Senate reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling, which must be done by August 2.

Advocates for more funding for FDA must continue to stress that the agency provides essential services. There is no fallback—no other agency to do FDA’s work–if there are insufficient monies.


For purposes of disclosure: I am one of the founders and serve as Deputy Executive Director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA. For more information about the Alliance, go to www.StrengthenFDA.org or write to me at sgrossman@StrengthenFDA.org.

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