As I reported yesterday, the Bush administration amended the FY 09 budget to include an extra $275 million for the Food and Drug (FDA) Administration. A valid attempt to make the situation right, it seems it may be too little too late.
In a letter from Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) to Secretary Michael Leavitt (Health and Human Services), Specter said the FDA’s request on Monday for an additional $275 million wouldn’t give them any money until March or April 2009 “at the earliest.”
In a handwritten note on the letter, the Pennsylvania Republican said the “Administration is drastically hindering necessary immediate relief by delaying the funding for eight or nine months.” He added, “FDA needs this money now to save lives.”
Sen. Specter has been working to get the agency $275 million in the fiscal 2008 emergency supplemental appropriations bill. He said the FDA’s request “undermines” the Senate’s efforts to get the agency funds on an “expedited basis.” (Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2008).
If the supplemental was passed and signed by the President the FDA would get the $275 million by September 30th. The President has already threatened the bill with a veto.
Specter went on to say, “Supporting additional dollars in the FY 09 budget sends a signal that there is no urgency in providing these funds.”