January 22, 2007

MIKULSKI, CARDIN URGE FULL FUNDING OF FDA CONSOLIDATION PROJECT IN WHITE OAK

CONTACT: Susan Sullam, 410-962-4524

Oren Shur; 202-224-4524


WASHINGTON -- Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland today sent a letter to Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, urging him to fund the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) efforts to consolidate its operations at White Oak at $178.5 million, the full amount appropriated by Congress for FY 2007.

Currently, the committee is continuing its deliberation on the FY 2007 Continuing Resolution and could freeze the project's funding at $127.6 million, the same amount it received in FY 2006. Failure to fund the FDA Consolidation at the full amount would impair the vital work of the FDA and result in construction delays and increased project costs.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. Chairman:

We are writing to express our continuing concerns about the potential fiscal and mission impacts of the Fiscal Year 2007 Continuing Resolution on the Food and Drug Administration's efforts to consolidate its operations in White Oak, Maryland.

Since FY 2000, the Food and Drug Administration has been consolidating its headquarters and laboratory facilities at the former Naval Surface Warfare Center site in White Oak, Maryland. Over the past seven years, Congress has appropriated $442 million for this consolidation effort. For FY 2007, both Houses of Congress approved the full $178.5 million requested for the project. The current schedule and plans call for completion of consolidation by 2011, when 7,700 FDA personnel will have relocated to the new campus.

FDA's current lease in the Parklawn Building in Rockville expires August 1, 2010. If project funding is frozen at the FY 2006 level of $127.6 million in the FY 2007 Continuing Resolution, this would delay completion of the next phase of construction, escalate project costs, require extension of costly leases, leave FDA employees in substandard facilities, and impair the work of the agency.

This project is vital to address the health of the American people and safety of our food and drug supply. It has strong bipartisan support.

As the Committee continues its deliberations on the FY 2007 Continuing Resolution, we hope that a way can be found to sustain funding for the project at the full budget request of $178.5 million.