The fate of the FY 08 emergency supplemental appropriations bill in the House was finally decided last night. Leaders on both sides negotiated a deal and came up with a bill that will likely be signed by the President.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was one of the big winners, snagging an additional $150 million. A much lower number than we had hoped for, but a victory nonetheless.
As we mentioned last week, a battle has been going on between Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) and the Bush Administration. Both have been trying to get the extra $275 million requested by FDA Chief, Andrew Von Eschenbach, but at very different times. The Republican Senator, who has been a champion in the fight for biomedical research dollars, wanted the $275 million added to the emergency supplemental. This would make the money available by early fall of 2008. Meanwhile, the Administration wanted to add the $275 million to the FY 09 budget, not making the funds available until well into next year.
The next step for the bill is to move over to the Senate where it will have to be voted on. This gives an opportunity for the Senate to add even more money to the struggling agency. While we would definitely welcome it, this scenario is likely not to happen.
We will keep you updated on any further developments.