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House Subcommittee Bill Fails to Fund FDA At Needed Levels, Kelley Says

Wednesday, June 5 2013

Washington, D.C.—The leader of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) today criticized as “woefully inadequate for the agency’s mission” a fiscal 2014 funding proposal by a House subcommittee for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, FDA and related agencies marked up legislation that would provide the FDA with less than a 1 percent increase in the coming fiscal year.

“I am disappointed that the House subcommittee failed to recognize the critical role and expanding public health mission performed by FDA employees,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. “FDA’s vital, complex public health responsibilities, that include safe food, medicine and medical devices, cannot be accomplished with this level of funding.”

As the appropriations measure moves forward, NTEU will try to secure FDA funding at a minimum of $2.6 billion, a boost of $100 million over the subcommittee proposal, Kelley said, adding that while “this modest request will still leave unmet needs, at least it will move the agency out of the danger zone for public health and safety.”

The NTEU leader noted the FDA narrowly avoided employee furloughs this year by delaying some expenses until the next fiscal year and leaving positions vacant. “This is not sustainable in the long term. Underfunding this agency will come at great cost to the protection of our country’s food supply and the safety of lifesaving medicine,” she said.

Also in its bill, the House subcommittee funded the NTEU-represented Farm Service Agency at $1.5 billion, equal to the fiscal 2013 enacted level. The next step is for the subcommittee measure to go to the House Appropriations Committee.

NTEU is the largest independent federal union, representing 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.

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