FDA budget: Consider it a downpayment

WASHINGTON - Although President Clinton's $1.35 billion budget request for FDA for fiscal 2000 would reverse several years of flat or declining budgets, several more years of budget increases are needed to allow the agency to perform all of the tasks it has been assigned.

Congress and the White House have given FDA significant new responsibilities in recent years, the number and scientific complexity of product applications are increasing, and the agency is finding it difficult to attract and retain talented workers.

In fact, the White House budget proposal last week only starts a long process of congressional review that will provide opportunities to haggle over the actual appropriation, which is unlikely to be enacted before the fall.

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