House Appropriations approves FDA bill
The House Appropriations Committee reported favorably the Ag-FDA appropriations bill on party lines Wednesday, with 34 Republicans voting for it and 27 Democrats against.
Why it matters: The FDA-Ag bill is the first health-related bill that has gone through the House appropriations process — and with FDA funding levels kept relatively steady, it shows that at least one health agency is likely to escape deep cuts.
- That's significant because House Appropriations Committee chair Kay Granger announced this week that the committee will write this year's bills to cap spending at fiscal 2022 levels — calling the debt deal's spending levels "a ceiling, not a floor."
Details: The bill would give about $6.58 billion to the FDA, which would be below President Biden's fiscal 2024 budget request of $7.2 billion — but roughly the same as the agency's FY2023 level of $6.56 billion.
- $3.5 million of the funding would come from direct appropriations, while $3.1 million would come from the user fees that pharmaceutical companies pay. It's a slight increase from the amount of user fees paid last year.
- FDA's funding in this bill remained unchanged from what was previously outlined in the subcommittee markup, before the debt deal was reached.
What they're saying: House appropriators sparred over the funding levels, with Democrats expressing frustration that overall levels may be lower than what was agreed to in the debt limit deal.
- "The bill before us is a perfect example of how House Republicans misled the American people," said DeLauro. "They do not want to adhere to the bipartisan agreement set by the president and the speaker, which passed with many of their votes. Instead they continue to pursue the biggest cuts in recorded history."
- Ag-FDA subcommittee chair Rep. Andy Harris said the bill "rejects the Biden administration's unrealistic proposed spending levels that disregarded the dire fiscal reality our country faces."
Zoom in: The bill included several health-related riders that Democrats opposed, including one that would prevent the abortion pill mifepristone from being mailed to patients and return to in-person dispensing requirements.
- Another rider would prevent HHS from banning menthol and setting a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes.
- Democrats introduced two amendments that would have stripped those two riders from the bill, but both failed.