May 26, 2020

White House Threatens Veto of House Bill Cutting FDA Funding

The White House Office of Management and Budget issued a Statement of Administration Policy on June 24, 2012 that objects to H.R. 5973. The Obama administration is threatening a veto of the bill if it is sent to the White House.

CongressThe bill will set funding for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013.

According to the statement, the bill “imposes harmful cuts in rural economic development, renewable energy development, nutrition programs, food safety, and international food aid. Investing in these areas is critical to the Nation’s economic growth, security, and global competitiveness. The Administration also strongly objects to the inclusion of any ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation.”

These are the areas of concern addressed in the statement:

  • For the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the bill cuts $48 million from the administration’s request for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative competitive grant program. That program helps the USDA respond to “the serious challenges of climate change, world food hunger, food safety, human nutrition, and sustainable bioenergy.”
  • The funding level for Women Infants and Children (WIC) is much lower than the $7 billion requested. This cut in funding will create a risk that the program will not be able to manage shortfalls, since the program costs are quite variable.
  • The bill cuts the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which helps vulnerable senior citizens supplement their diets with a nutritional food packages.
  • The Obama administration supports robust funding for the FDA to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and improve the safety of imports. The bill proposes $3.8 billion in funding, compared to $4.5 billion requested by the administration.
  • The user fees proposed by the administration are not included in the House bill.
  • Section 743 in the bill prohibits the exclusion of foods from the WIC program, which “undermines the science-based approach used in the program,” according to the statement.

The bill does increase funding for “discretionary food safety funds” by $10 million over the administration’s request, but the actual cost of implementing FSMA will at at least $1.4 billion over the next five years.

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