US House Republicans are seeking a $285 million cut to the Food and Drug Administration’s fiscal year 2012 budget, an 11.5 percent reduction over FY2011. This news comes when the agency is attempting to implement a new food safety law.
The House GOP has stated America is at a “crossroads” and the time has come for hard choices, including cuts to the agency responsible for the country’s food safety.
In a statement, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) noted: “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,” Food Safety News (FSN) reports.
In January, President Obama signed into law the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, a law the FDA claims will require additional funding, not budget cuts.
Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods, told an audience of public health leaders at George Washington University late last week: “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,” according to FSN.
FSN also noted some Republicans have recently questioned the need for additional resources at the FDA. Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston (R-GA) said: “America is at a crossroads.” He went on to suggest America could become the next failed country, with China waiting in the wings: “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.”
Kingston noted 42 cents of every dollar spent by the government is borrowed money. “For our part, the Agriculture Subcommittee has sought to begin making some of the tough choices necessary to right the ship. 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,” FSN reports.
Also under attack by the GOP plan is the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service budget, proposed to get a $35 million cut.