This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Broun (R-GA) to the bill providing fiscal 2010 year funds for the Department of Agriculture, rural development, and the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and related agencies. The amendment would have returned the 2010 fiscal year funding for the FDA back to its fiscal year 2009 level by reducing the amount provided for it in H.R. 2997 by $373 million.
Rep. Broun began his statement in support of his amendment by saying: “(A)s American families struggle to tighten their fiscal belts and spend less . . . I believe Congress should stop spending so much (and) . . . I think most people would like for us to be more frugal.” Broun said “as the House conducts one of its most important tasks, the appropriation of funds, we owe it to the American families and people to . . . work towards real fiscal constraint here in Washington.”
Rep. D Rep. DeLauro (D-CT), the chair of the Appropriations Committee subcommittee that developed H.R. 2997, opposed the amendment. She noted that its impact would be to cut staffing that would be “devoted to inspections and other field activities, (and) make real improvements in FDA's work to ensure the safety of foods and medical products . . . The FDA will also be able to update its labs . . . This is especially important during food-borne illness outbreaks . . . .”
DeLauro also noted that “the increased funds will help the FDA work on new screening tests for blood-borne disease to better understand the adverse events related to medical devices that are used in pediatric hospitals (and will) . . . allow the FDA to make substantial investments in information technology for both foods and medical products.”
Rep. Broun responded by claiming that his amendment “won't do a thing to cut all those programs . . . .” He went on to argue: “(M)y amendment would simply put the funding at the current level. We are stealing our grandchildren's future by spending so much money, by creating a huge debt. I'm not picking on the FDA. What I'm trying to do is I'm trying to save my grandchildren's future.” Rep. DeLauro countered by saying: “I'm trying to save your grandchildren's lives and other grandchildren's lives and my own as well.”
The amendment was defeated by a vote of 135-292. One hundred and thirty-two Republicans and three Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and forty-eight Democrats and forty-four Republicans voted “nay”. As a result, the FDA spending levels for fiscal year 2010 were not reduced.