Administration seeks 33% increase in F.D.A. funding for 2012

by Jay Sjerven
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President Barack Obama’s budget for fi scal year 2012, while requiring most government agencies to tighten their belts, called for a 33% increase in funding for the Food and Drug Administration from the fi scal 2010 enacted level (the Congress failed to enact a fi scal 2011 budget and was debating a continuing resolution passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 19 to fund government operations, including the F.D.A., from March 4 through Sept. 30, 2011,
see story on Page 19).

The F.D.A.’s proposed fiscal 2012 budget totaled $4,360 million, up $1,074 million from an enacted budget of $3,286 million in fi scal 2010 and compared with an estimated $3,373 million in fiscal 2011. The F.D.A. proposal included budget authority (appropriated funds) in fiscal 2012 of $2,744 million, up $380 million, or 16%, from the enacted 2010 budget authority of $2,364 million and compared with an estimated $2,362 million in fiscal 2011 (assuming spending proceeds at fi scal 2010 levels for the remainder of the current year, which was unlikely given the current debate in Congress). The F.D.A.’s budget proposal for fiscal 2012 also included estimated revenue from existing and proposed user fees of $1,616 million, which would be an increase of $684 million, or 75%, from fi scal 2010.

“F.D.A. protects and promotes the health of all Americans through every stage of life,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of food and drugs. “The breadth of this mandate means that F.D.A. responsibilities continue to grow. The new budget contains new resources so that F.D.A. can fulfill its growing responsibilities to the American public.”

The budget request was applauded by the Alliance for a Stronger F.D.A., a coalition of more than 180 business and consumer organizations and companies seeking increased funding for the agency.

“The president has demonstrated his understanding of F.D.A.’s critical mission, particularly in the food safety area, and has proposed funding consistent with the demands being placed on the agency,” said Nancy Bradish Myers, president of the alliance and president of Catalyst Healthcare Consulting. “The president has underscored this commitment to deficit reduction but wisely sees F.D.A. as a necessary exception.”

The F.D.A. requested budget authority for its food programs in fiscal 2012 of $959.6 million, up $178 million, or 23%, from an enacted level of $783 million in fiscal 2010 and compared with an estimated $781 million in fiscal 2011. Of this proposed total for fiscal 2012, $300.8 million in appropriated funds would be for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, up $64.8 million, or 27%, from fi scal 2010. Budget authority for the agency’s fi eld activities related to food safety in fi scal 2012 was proposed at $658.8 million, up $113.4 million, or 21%, from fi scal 2010.

The F.D.A.’s total program level for its food programs (budget authority plus user fees) for fiscal 2012 was proposed at $1,375.3 million, up $326 million, or 31%, from an enacted $1,051.4 million in fiscal 2010. Revenues from user fees applying to the food programs in fiscal 2012 were estimated at $100.2 million. The fees would be new fees, most called for under the Food Safety Modernization Act (F.S.M.A.).

The food-related user fees included assessments on companies participating in the Voluntary Qualifi ed Importer Program that will facilitate expedited import food inspection for qualifying participants (a forecast $71 million in fees); food re-inspection fees (an estimated $15 million paid by facilities failing initial inspections); food recall fees ($12 million assessed on facilities that must recall food), and a food and feed export certifi cation fees ($1 million).

The F.D.A. said the proposed increase in funding for its food programs would enable the agency to implement the reforms contained in the F.S.M.A. that was signed into law in January 2011, conduct outreach and education related to implementing new menu and vending machine labeling requirements as provided under the Affordable Care Act, and carry out other food safety mandates as required by Congress.

Under the F.D.A.’s fi scal 2012 budget proposal, full-time employees at the agency would total 14,336, up 2,055 from 12,381 during fi scal 2010.
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