Letter of the Patient, Consumer, and Public Health Coalition to House Leaders in Opposition of H.J. Res 77

The Honorable John Boehner                                     The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House                                                  Democratic Leader
U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515                                              Washington, DC 20515

October 4, 2013

To Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi:

We are writing as public health, patient, consumer, and scientific nonprofit organizations to oppose H.J. Res 77 and any other efforts to single out the Food and Drug Administration for funding.  Our organizations represent millions of patients, consumers, health professionals, and scientists who strongly support the work of the FDA and urge Congress to provide the level of appropriations the agency needs throughout FY 2014.

We appreciate the recognition that the FDA is an essential federal agency with the life-saving mission of protecting all Americans from unsafe drugs, devices, biologics, and food.  We are very concerned that the current shutdown is curtailing the agency’s work, which will inevitably delay the approval of new medical products and the inspection of medical products and food.  The shutdown also harms scientists and other employees who have dedicated their careers to public service, and will make it even more difficult for the agency to attract the scientific expertise it needs now and in the future.  And, the shutdown will also have a devastating impact on some of the companies that rely on FDA reviews to get their new products to market, and their workers.

Nevertheless, we cannot support a legislative approach that shuts down some essential public health agencies while temporarily funding others.  For example, it is not responsible to fund the FDA at the same time that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is unable to fully function to examine the cause of epidemics caused by unsafe food or defective medical products.

We strongly urge Congress to do its job: immediately open up all federal agencies and then quickly work together to get the FY 2014 appropriations bills enacted into law, based on the funding levels needed to do their jobs well.    These appropriations bills should not include a sequester or arbitrary across the board cuts, but rather should give agencies the authority to cut ineffective programs and adequately fund those that are essential.

American Medical Student Association
Breast Cancer Action
Community Access National Network
ConnecticutCenter for Patient Safety
Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health
National Consumers League
NationalResearchCenter for Women & Families
National Women’s Health Network
Our Bodies Ourselves
The TMJ Association
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
WoodyMatters

For more information, contact Paul Brown at (202) 223-4000 or at pb@center4research.org.