Posted 18 July 2017
By Michael Mezher
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies on Tuesday voted to advance its draft FY2018 appropriations bill, which includes $2.8 billion in discretionary funding for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to mark up the bill before voting to advance it to the Senate for consideration.
While the funding levels in the bill do not entirely line up with those in the bill advanced by the House Appropriations Committee last week in other areas, both bills would provide FDA with $2.8 billion in discretionary funding, a $1 million increase over the FY2017 amount.
As with the House bill, the funding levels proposed for FDA do not reflect President Donald Trump's calls to sharply increase user fees paid to the agency by industry to make up for cuts in appropriations in his proposed FY2018 budget.
In total, the bill calls for $5.2 billion in funding for FDA, $491 million over the FY2017 level, with most of the increase coming from higher user fee revenues.
However, the bill does not reauthorize the agency's user fee agreements, which expire on 30 September 2017. Last week, the House passed its version of the user fee reauthorization bill, and while the Senate's version of the bill sailed through committee in May, a vote in the Senate has yet to be scheduled.
But, on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) added the House bill (H.R. 2430) to the Senate's calendar, signaling that his chamber may soon take up the bill, though David Popp, McConnell's communications director, told Focus on Tuesday that he couldn't provide guidance on when a vote might be held.