WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD), were joined by House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-5th), Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-8th) and Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD-4th), in urging the General Services Administration (GSA) to use as much of its $82 million construction budget to continue with the consolidation of the Food and Drug Administration at White Oak in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, Maryland.
The Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011 reduces funding for GSA construction projects to $82 million and provides no designated funding for the FDA’s White Oak facility. Without adequate funding, FDA will be hindered in its efforts to establish a fully functioning laboratory capability in its Life Sciences Biodefense cluster for the development, testing, and licensing of vaccines needed to protect the public from bioterrorism threats. The senators and House members wrote GSA Administrator Martha Johnson outlining the harm to public safety and the economy that could result from insufficient funding for White Oak and urged the GSA Secretary to allot as much of GSA’s budget as possible to the FDA project.
The project has employed hundreds of workers over the course of the construction. Maintaining steady funding to complete the project is critical to preserving existing construction jobs and creating new ones as the project moves forward. When completed, the more than 1 million square feet of usable office space at the White Oak FDA complex will house more than 9,000 permanent employees. The FDA complex is designed to be the first Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design (LEED) certified campus in the country.