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), today in announcing that the General Services Administration (GSA) will be allocating $44 million of its $82 million construction budget for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consolidation project at White Oak in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
The Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011 reduced funding for GSA construction projects to $82 million and provided no designated funding for the FDA’s White Oak facility. On April 29, Senators Cardin and Mikulski and Representatives Hoyer, Van Hollen and Edwards wrote to GSA Administrator Martha Johnson urging the agency to include as much funding as possible for the FDA consolidation.
“The FDA is our premier agency for safeguarding the nation’s public health regarding food products, drugs, medical devices and other products that Americans use every day,” said Senator Cardin. “The allocation of more than half of GSA’s construction budget for this project confirms its importance, and will help the FDA consolidate the agency into one, modern campus with the most up-to-date scientific equipment that is needed to protect the health and safety of all Americans.”
“We’re making progress one building at a time. But we’re doing more than building buildings, we’re building America’s future,” Senator Mikulski said. “It has been a long fight, but I have been working tirelessly with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee and we are closer to the finish line. The FDA can count on me to be there every step of the way until these buildings are completed and the agency’s hardworking employees have the resources they were promised.”
“I am pleased that GSA has allocated more than half of its Fiscal Year 2011 construction and acquisition appropriation to continue the FDA’s White Oak expansion,” stated Congressman Hoyer. “Consolidating FDA’s offices and laboratories at White Oak will allow some of the world’s top researchers to move out of dilapidated working conditions and into state-of-the-art facilities. However, this allocation still falls far short of what will be needed to complete the FDA Headquarters Consolidation project on schedule. I will continue fighting for this important funding, which will allow FDA to carry out its critical mission in modern, state of the art facilities.”
“We rely on the FDA to ensure that the food we eat and the products we use every day are safe,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “By investing in this consolidation project at White Oak, we will start to put FDA scientists in the cutting-edge labs and facilities they need to do their job. These funds represent a down payment, but we’re not done yet. I will continue to work with my colleagues to fight for this critical project, which is integral to the FDA’s mission of protecting our children and families.”
“The FDA consolidation project at White Oak is critical in modernizing the agency with the laboratory space and equipment necessary to protect the American people in the 21st Century,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “This funding ensures that the White Oak project stays on track to meet this goal and help create jobs, improve the local economy, and increase the capacity of the Life Sciences Biodefense cluster to protect the public from bioterrorism threats. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Maryland delegation to ensure funds are available until this important project is complete.”
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.