A new budget proposal put forth by House Republicans Monday would cut the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012 by $285 million, an 11.5 percent reduction from FY 2011, just as the agency moves to implement an ambitious new food safety law.

The draft budget legislation, unveiled by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, cuts $2.6 in discretionary spending, which is over $5 billion below the President’s FY 2012 budget request for the programs under the purview of the subcommittee.

“As is the goal of all our Appropriations bills this year, this legislation reflects hard decisions to cut lower priority programs, reduce spending in programs that can be scaled back, and target funds where they are needed most so that our nation continues on the path to fiscal recovery,” said House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers in a statement.

Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston (R-GA), who has recently questioned the push for greater resources at FDA, emphasized the need for significant cuts.

“America is at a crossroads,” said Kingston. “For every dollar the Federal government spends, 42 cents is borrowed.  The gross national debt is now 97 percent of GDP and we are rapidly becoming the next Greece, Spain, or Portugal.  Internationally, this weakens our standing as a global leader and our lenders such as China may seek to restructure our debt if we don’t take care of it ourselves.”

“For our part, the Agriculture Subcommittee has sought to begin making some of the tough choices necessary to right the ship,” added Kingston. “We have taken spending to below pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels while ensuring USDA, FDA, CFTC and other agencies are provided the necessary resources to fulfill their duties.

Kingston said the plan balances the “urgent need for fiscal restraint” with the “necessity of a safe and abundant supply of food and life-saving medications.”

Deputy Commissioner for Foods at FDA, Michael Taylor, recently told a public health audience in Washington, D.C., the agency will need funding increases to meet the mandate set forth in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which President Obama signed into law in January.

“There’s no question that to implement what really is a whole new food safety system that Congress has outlined in this law we’ve got to make some investments above our current funding,” said Taylor during a policy address at George Washington University last Thursday. “It does mean getting some meaningful increases over the next few years to get our base up above where it is today.”

The proposal would also reduce the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service budget by $35 million. A release by the subcommittee notes that the proposed funding level “will continue critical meat, poultry, and egg product inspection and testing activities, and supports an expansion of a poultry inspection pilot project that will lead to improving food safety.”

  • Stan

    Our government wants to cut food safety for American citizens and yet fund a war in two foreign countries? Congress wants to cut the budget of a department where the very health and even the lives of Americans are protected while spending billions for space research? Be Serious! Congressmen and Senators have one job and one job only…to be re-elected until they can retire in luxury. To do so means keeping Corporate America satisfied. Ya’ gotta make it look good of course. Keep the laws on the books but cut the budget where no real harm can come to the company’s bottom line. Their profit increases and they slip a few thousand into each helpful congressmen’s greedy hands and get re-elected. Resist their efforts and you’ll find those thousands slipped into your adversary’s pockets. So they play the game and keep their job until they retire. Soloution: Simple as enacting term limits on all Congressmen and Senators…12 years max. Go to D.C. and get the job done. Committees membership can rotate every 4 years instead of the senior members getting and keeping the most prestegious postions and using that very position to get re-elected. It has been mentioned that civilian bureaucrats will run the government if new leaders are elected every few years but in truth they do that now while our elected leaders sell out their budgets to get re-elected. Our government needs to go back to the basics and that is taking care of their citizens. Defense: Protect Our Country and not some other country from their own internal conflicts. Protect our borders from intrusion. Protect American Jobs from foreign competition. Park the Space Shuttles and stop expensive space exploration until our budget is back in shape. Make laws limiting interest rates while making it a requirement for banks to lend a higher percentage of their assets thus ensuring a growing economy. Make a law designating all oil company profits above a certain level must be invested in alternative fuel sources for our future…$3 a gallon would be about right. Meanwhile design and support a mass transit system that will get the cars off the roads and gas demmand down. The U.S. Government budget has grown to a point where it cannot be controlled without severe restrictions. Throw out the idea of increasing corporate profits and begin to believe in the rights and concerns of the American People. Keep them alive, healthy and seeking happiness. Do this and America will survive well into the future. Don’t and watch democracy become a corporate aristocracy.

  • Hugh Robertson

    How many cruise missiles does 285 million buy? Who profits from the missiles? Who profits from food safety? Who loses money having to follow food safety regulations? I think we could take 65 billion from the military and be effective but taking 285 million from the USDA is very heavy handed. If anything they should be getting 285 MORE! I’m sure there is some problems in that agency but let’s address the problems, not cut the already low budget.

  • dangermaus

    It’d be nice if they could do something reasonable like cut grain subsidies to fund inspectors… Despite what I personally may think of the value of enforcement over consumer’s being more active about demanding to know more about the food they buy, it doesn’t make sense to have an agency without the resources to enforce its mandate. It leads to capricious enforcement of regulations.

  • Dan

    The FDA is requesting $4.3 billion for FY2012; the House GOP countered with $3.654 billion. That is still a sharp increase over FY2011 FDA spending, and DOUBLE the FDA’s $1.843 billion spent in FY2009.
    Only in Washington are significant spending increases characterized as “cuts”.
    (FDA Enacted Budgets and Actual Outlays http://dhhs.gov/asfr/ob/docbudget/2011budgetinbrief.pdf (page 8))