Chairman Rogers Statement on H.J. Res. 77, the Food and Drug Safety Act

Oct 7, 2013

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement before the House today in support of H.J. Res. 77, the Food and Drug Safety Act, which passed the House on a vote of 235-162:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.J. Res. 77. This bill makes sure that, even during a shutdown of the government, the Food and Drug Administration’s critical safeguards remain in place to protect our food and drug supply. The health of our people should not be jeopardized by political dysfunction.

"This legislation provides funding for the FDA at the current, post-sequestration, annual rate of $2.3 billion. This will provide funding to maintain protections for food, drugs, and medical devices, and allow the FDA to collect and spend user fees.

"The length of this authority will last until December 15, or until we can enact year-long appropriations legislation that addresses the funding of the federal government in full.

"As with each of the other individual bills we have considered this week, the language in H.J. Res. 77 is nearly identical to what was included in my clean continuing resolution, filed back in September.

"This bill moves us a small step closer to the finish line, but we must remember that we can get there much faster if we find a way to fund the entire federal government. This will require cooperation and conversation from both the Senate and the House.

"This will be the ninth bill the House has sent the Senate to reopen the federal government. The House has voted to provide nearly one-third of the funding needed to reopen the government, but unfortunately, the Senate won’t even consider these bills – and so the government is still shut down. Our colleagues in the Senate say they want a clean CR, but when we’ve sent them these bills – pieces of a clean CR, but clean funding mechanisms nonetheless – they won’t even bring them up for a vote.

"This isn’t my first-choice option for funding the federal government – my preference would be to have passed full-year Appropriations bills BEFORE September 30. The House made strides toward this goal, with my Committee approving nearly all our annual bills, and with the full House passing four. Yet the Senate could not even pass a single bill off their floor.

"But I still hope and believe that we can find a path forward. It will require both parties, and both bodies, to find ways we can work together to end this shutdown.

"As we work to that end, we can pass this bill to ensure that nearly all of the federal government’s food safety activities are funded during this government shutdown.

"I urge my colleagues to support this bill. Thank you."