(Dec. 21) Advocates for a stronger Food and Drug Administration didn’t get the full increase in food safety funding they wanted for the agency in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill.

The Coalition for a Stronger FDA, which includes no produce associations as members but does list the Washington, D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers of America on its roster, has sought 15% increases in the FDA’s food safety budget for each of the next five years.

However, Democrats in Congress said the $515 billion omnibus bill approved by Congress on Dec. 18 provided more money for FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety priorities than President Bush initially offered in his budget.

After Congress agreed to freeze most domestic spending and add Iraq war funding, administration sources indicated President Bush would sign the legislation, which contains 11 appropriation bills for federal agencies for the 2008 fiscal year.

The government has been operating since Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year, with stopgap funding measures that expired Dec.21.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and chairwoman of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Subcommittee, criticized President Bush for refusing to make compromises to provide greater funding for new priorities at both the FDA and USDA.

Nevertheless, DeLauro said the omnibus bill funds the Women Infants and Children Feeding program at $6.02 billion, an increase of $816 million over 2007 and $633 million over the amount in the budget from President Bush.

DeLauro said the omnibus bill increased overall funding for the FDA at $79 million more than President Bush’s budget and $145 million over fiscal year 2007. That amount includes a significant increase of $56 million over 2007 for food safety efforts, DeLauro said.