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Members of Congress Want FDA to Drop Agency’s Push for FSMA User Fees

Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sam Farr (D-CA) are calling on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to request full funding for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rather than continuing to consider user fees as a funding source.

For the FY 2015 budget, FDA requested $ 1.48 billion for food safety activities. The $ 263 million increase over the FY 2014 enacted level included an additional $ 24 million in budget authority. The request also included $ 255 million in proposed new user fees, including Food Import and Food Facility Registration and Inspection fees.

In their letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, DeLauro and Farr asked that the Food and Drug Administration “discontinue [the] request for FSMA user fees as they hide the true cost of implementation and will likely be rejected again.”

Congress has rejected the administration’s last five requests for user fees to help implement FSMA, they said.

DeLauro and Farr both serve on House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. During the subcommittee’s hearing in March to discuss the 2015 budget, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) asked FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg whether the agency will need more than the proposed $ 24-million increase requested in discretionary funding.

“To make the kind of progress that we want to make in terms of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act and the new roles and responsibilities and authorities that Congress gave us … we do need the amount requested in the president’s budget overall,” Hamburg said.

That sentiment echoes FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor’s testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in February: “We will continue efforts to make the best use of the resources we have, but simply put, we cannot achieve FDA’s vision of a modern food safety system and a safer food supply without a significant increase in resources.”

Rather than relying on the user fees that face so much resistance from Congress and industry, DeLauro and Farr want to see “a request for much higher budget authority for FSMA implementation” in the president’s FY 2016 budget.

“In the four years since FSMA was enacted, Congress has provided some of the funding necessary for FSMA implementation, but much more funding will be required to make the larger, up-front investments necessary to ensure the public-health benefits the law promises,” DeLauro and Farr wrote to Burwell and in a second letter to Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Once the major rules are completed in the coming year, FDA will require additional funding to fully implement FSMA.”

When FSMA was approved in 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that FDA would need an increase of more than $ 580 million to fund the expanded food safety activities. FDA has since revised that estimate to between $ 400 and $ 450 million.

The agriculture appropriations bills failed to pass either the House or the Senate this summer. Fiscal Year 2015 begins Oct. 1, so when the House returns from recess in September, it will consider a vote on a short-term continuing resolution that would fund the federal government at current levels until mid-December. After the midterm election on Nov. 4, Congress could vote on a FY 2015 omnibus bill or a second continuing resolution that funds the federal government for the rest of the next fiscal year, or until Sept. 30, 2015.

Food Safety News

Members of Congress Want FDA to Drop Agency’s Push for FSMA User Fees

Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sam Farr (D-CA) are calling on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to request full funding for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rather than continuing to consider user fees as a funding source.

For the FY 2015 budget, FDA requested $ 1.48 billion for food safety activities. The $ 263 million increase over the FY 2014 enacted level included an additional $ 24 million in budget authority. The request also included $ 255 million in proposed new user fees, including Food Import and Food Facility Registration and Inspection fees.

In their letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, DeLauro and Farr asked that the Food and Drug Administration “discontinue [the] request for FSMA user fees as they hide the true cost of implementation and will likely be rejected again.”

Congress has rejected the administration’s last five requests for user fees to help implement FSMA, they said.

DeLauro and Farr both serve on House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. During the subcommittee’s hearing in March to discuss the 2015 budget, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) asked FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg whether the agency will need more than the proposed $ 24-million increase requested in discretionary funding.

“To make the kind of progress that we want to make in terms of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act and the new roles and responsibilities and authorities that Congress gave us … we do need the amount requested in the president’s budget overall,” Hamburg said.

That sentiment echoes FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor’s testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in February: “We will continue efforts to make the best use of the resources we have, but simply put, we cannot achieve FDA’s vision of a modern food safety system and a safer food supply without a significant increase in resources.”

Rather than relying on the user fees that face so much resistance from Congress and industry, DeLauro and Farr want to see “a request for much higher budget authority for FSMA implementation” in the president’s FY 2016 budget.

“In the four years since FSMA was enacted, Congress has provided some of the funding necessary for FSMA implementation, but much more funding will be required to make the larger, up-front investments necessary to ensure the public-health benefits the law promises,” DeLauro and Farr wrote to Burwell and in a second letter to Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Once the major rules are completed in the coming year, FDA will require additional funding to fully implement FSMA.”

When FSMA was approved in 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that FDA would need an increase of more than $ 580 million to fund the expanded food safety activities. FDA has since revised that estimate to between $ 400 and $ 450 million.

The agriculture appropriations bills failed to pass either the House or the Senate this summer. Fiscal Year 2015 begins Oct. 1, so when the House returns from recess in September, it will consider a vote on a short-term continuing resolution that would fund the federal government at current levels until mid-December. After the midterm election on Nov. 4, Congress could vote on a FY 2015 omnibus bill or a second continuing resolution that funds the federal government for the rest of the next fiscal year, or until Sept. 30, 2015.

Food Safety News

Members of Congress Want FDA to Drop Agency’s Push for FSMA User Fees

Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Sam Farr (D-CA) are calling on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to request full funding for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rather than continuing to consider user fees as a funding source.

For the FY 2015 budget, FDA requested $ 1.48 billion for food safety activities. The $ 263 million increase over the FY 2014 enacted level included an additional $ 24 million in budget authority. The request also included $ 255 million in proposed new user fees, including Food Import and Food Facility Registration and Inspection fees.

In their letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, DeLauro and Farr asked that the Food and Drug Administration “discontinue [the] request for FSMA user fees as they hide the true cost of implementation and will likely be rejected again.”

Congress has rejected the administration’s last five requests for user fees to help implement FSMA, they said.

DeLauro and Farr both serve on House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. During the subcommittee’s hearing in March to discuss the 2015 budget, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) asked FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg whether the agency will need more than the proposed $ 24-million increase requested in discretionary funding.

“To make the kind of progress that we want to make in terms of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act and the new roles and responsibilities and authorities that Congress gave us … we do need the amount requested in the president’s budget overall,” Hamburg said.

That sentiment echoes FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor’s testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in February: “We will continue efforts to make the best use of the resources we have, but simply put, we cannot achieve FDA’s vision of a modern food safety system and a safer food supply without a significant increase in resources.”

Rather than relying on the user fees that face so much resistance from Congress and industry, DeLauro and Farr want to see “a request for much higher budget authority for FSMA implementation” in the president’s FY 2016 budget.

“In the four years since FSMA was enacted, Congress has provided some of the funding necessary for FSMA implementation, but much more funding will be required to make the larger, up-front investments necessary to ensure the public-health benefits the law promises,” DeLauro and Farr wrote to Burwell and in a second letter to Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Once the major rules are completed in the coming year, FDA will require additional funding to fully implement FSMA.”

When FSMA was approved in 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that FDA would need an increase of more than $ 580 million to fund the expanded food safety activities. FDA has since revised that estimate to between $ 400 and $ 450 million.

The agriculture appropriations bills failed to pass either the House or the Senate this summer. Fiscal Year 2015 begins Oct. 1, so when the House returns from recess in September, it will consider a vote on a short-term continuing resolution that would fund the federal government at current levels until mid-December. After the midterm election on Nov. 4, Congress could vote on a FY 2015 omnibus bill or a second continuing resolution that funds the federal government for the rest of the next fiscal year, or until Sept. 30, 2015.

Food Safety News

APHIS proposing upping fees, for first time in a decade

APHIS proposing upping fees, for first time in a decade

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing proposed changes to the fees it charges to recoup the costs of conducting agricultural quarantine inspections (AQI) at U.S. ports of entry. The adjustments APHIS proposes, the first changes to AQI user fees in nearly a decade, will ensure that the AQI program will have the financial stability it needs to continue the critical work of keeping U.S. agriculture safe and productive Agriculture, our country’s largest industry and employer, accounts for more than $ 1 trillion in annual economic activity. As volumes of international trade and travel both increase, so do the risks that foreign animal and plant pests and diseases can enter and establish themselves in the United States.

AQI activities include inspections conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of conveyances, cargo and passenger baggage entering the country as well as APHIS’ analytical and scientific work to track pests overseas, focus inspections at ports of entry, and develop the import regulations that protect U.S. animal and plant health from foreign pests. The fees should fully fund the actual costs of running the AQI program and be borne by those using the services. However, revenue from fees charged has been insufficient to cover all costs and compelled DHS to use appropriated funds that should be available for other important homeland security functions and initiatives.

APHIS is concurrently proposing to adjust the hourly rates charged when APHIS employees perform work associated with AQI activities on Sundays, holidays or other after-hours periods so APHIS can recover the true cost of providing the services. The overtime rates would be raised commensurate with the anticipated cost of providing AQI services through 2018. This proposed rule includes clarifying regulations so that AQI inspections performed by DHS can be billed in accordance with DHS overtime regulations. This proposed rule will also be available for a 60 day comment period. This is the first proposed change to overtime rates since 2002.

The proposed AQI fee structure ensures that no one party pays more than the costs of the services they incur. Because the proposal aligns fees with actual program costs, some fees will be lowered under the proposed structure. APHIS is proposing to lower fees for international air passengers from $ 5 to $ 4 per passenger and fees for railroad cars from $ 7.75 to $ 2 per railroad car. The current fees for these services generate more revenue than needed to cover their costs.

APHIS also proposes to raise user fees for inspections of commercial aircraft from $ 70.75 to $ 225, commercial maritime cargo vessels from $ 496 to $ 825, commercial trucks with a transponder (a sticker that contains an electronic chip that transmits information about the vehicle’s user fee payment status) from $ 105 to $ 320 a year, and commercial trucks without a Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service transponder from $ 5.25 to $ 8 per crossing. In each of these cases, current fees do not generate sufficient revenue to cover the costs of the services. APHIS is also proposing to add a $ 2 fee per sea passenger to recover costs associated with inspecting cruise vessels and passenger baggage, and to add a $ 375 fee to recover the costs of APHIS services for monitoring the application of or providing treatments to imported car go to minimize pest risks.

APHIS worked with an independent accounting firm to review the AQI fee structure and carefully considered a number of alternatives for revising the user fees. Much of the additional revenue from fees will cover the costs of ongoing CBP inspection activities that are now supported through taxpayer funds. This user fee rate update will allow us to recover the costs from those that benefit from the services associated with importing goods into the country, while minimizing impacts to U.S. employment and the economy.

This is the first major adjustment to AQI fees in nearly 10 years. Other than minor adjustments for inflation from FY 2000-FY 2010, the fee rates have not changed even though the program has hired several hundred additional inspectors and incurred other costs to meet the increasing need caused by a large increase in arriving international passenger and cargo traffic.

Having adequate revenues means that the AQI program will have the financial stability it needs to continue the critical work of keeping U.S. agriculture safe and productive. The proposal will be available for a 60-day comment period and APHIS will consider all comments as it works to finalize the changes to the fees.

Publication date: 6/18/2014


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Supermarket News

Lower Swipe Fees Cut Prices, Create Jobs: NGA

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Grocers Association here said Tuesday a newly issued economic study demonstrates that lowering debit-card swipe fees reduces prices and creates jobs.

“The study reinforces [the idea] that more needs to be done to correct the mistakes of the Federal Reserve on debit fees and to curtail the excessive credit-card fees that burden America’s consumers and merchants,” said Peter Larkin, president and chief executive officer of NGA.


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The study, released by the Merchants Payments Coalition — of which NGA is a member — indicates debit-card swipe fee reforms last year lowered consumer prices by $ 5.8 billion, which led to increased spending, which helped create more than 37,000 new jobs while also saving merchants $ 2.6 billion.

However, the savings and job gains could have been substantially larger, the study said, had the fees been cut to 12 cents as originally recommended by the Federal Reserve, rather than the current rate of 21 cents plus five basis points of the transaction value. If the cuts had been implemented, the study pointed out, consumer savings would have gone up an additional $ 2.79 billion, with an additional $ 1.2 billion in merchant savings, and nearly 18,000 more jobs would have been created.

Read more: NGA Outlines Opposition to Interchange Fee Settlement

Further, the study said, if swipe fees for all credit-card transactions had been held to the same level as debit fees in 2012, consumers would have saved an additional $ 15.4 billion and merchants would have saved another $ 6.9 billion, which would have supported creation of 98,600 more jobs per year.

According to Larkin, “While the Federal Reserve Board’s rule incorrectly allowed debit swipe fees to be raised on small purchases — and could have produced even more benefits for consumers and merchants by lowering fees to the more reasonable and proportional levels originally proposed [between 5 cents and 12 cents] — this study clearly illustrates consumers and the economy benefitted from the passage of the Durbin Amendment.”

That amendment, passed in 2010, said debit fees had to be reasonable and proportional to the cost of processing a transaction, an NGA spokesman explained.

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Supermarket News

Lower Swipe Fees Cut Prices, Create Jobs: NGA

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Grocers Association here said Tuesday a newly issued economic study demonstrates that lowering debit-card swipe fees reduces prices and creates jobs.

“The study reinforces [the idea] that more needs to be done to correct the mistakes of the Federal Reserve on debit fees and to curtail the excessive credit-card fees that burden America’s consumers and merchants,” said Peter Larkin, president and chief executive officer of NGA.


CONNECT WITH SN ON TWITTER

Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.


The study, released by the Merchants Payments Coalition — of which NGA is a member — indicates debit-card swipe fee reforms last year lowered consumer prices by $ 5.8 billion, which led to increased spending, which helped create more than 37,000 new jobs while also saving merchants $ 2.6 billion.

However, the savings and job gains could have been substantially larger, the study said, had the fees been cut to 12 cents as originally recommended by the Federal Reserve, rather than the current rate of 21 cents plus five basis points of the transaction value. If the cuts had been implemented, the study pointed out, consumer savings would have gone up an additional $ 2.79 billion, with an additional $ 1.2 billion in merchant savings, and nearly 18,000 more jobs would have been created.

Read more: NGA Outlines Opposition to Interchange Fee Settlement

Further, the study said, if swipe fees for all credit-card transactions had been held to the same level as debit fees in 2012, consumers would have saved an additional $ 15.4 billion and merchants would have saved another $ 6.9 billion, which would have supported creation of 98,600 more jobs per year.

According to Larkin, “While the Federal Reserve Board’s rule incorrectly allowed debit swipe fees to be raised on small purchases — and could have produced even more benefits for consumers and merchants by lowering fees to the more reasonable and proportional levels originally proposed [between 5 cents and 12 cents] — this study clearly illustrates consumers and the economy benefitted from the passage of the Durbin Amendment.”

That amendment, passed in 2010, said debit fees had to be reasonable and proportional to the cost of processing a transaction, an NGA spokesman explained.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarketnews

Supermarket News

Lower Swipe Fees Cut Prices, Create Jobs: NGA

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Grocers Association here said Tuesday a newly issued economic study demonstrates that lowering debit-card swipe fees reduces prices and creates jobs.

“The study reinforces [the idea] that more needs to be done to correct the mistakes of the Federal Reserve on debit fees and to curtail the excessive credit-card fees that burden America’s consumers and merchants,” said Peter Larkin, president and chief executive officer of NGA.


CONNECT WITH SN ON TWITTER

Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.


The study, released by the Merchants Payments Coalition — of which NGA is a member — indicates debit-card swipe fee reforms last year lowered consumer prices by $ 5.8 billion, which led to increased spending, which helped create more than 37,000 new jobs while also saving merchants $ 2.6 billion.

However, the savings and job gains could have been substantially larger, the study said, had the fees been cut to 12 cents as originally recommended by the Federal Reserve, rather than the current rate of 21 cents plus five basis points of the transaction value. If the cuts had been implemented, the study pointed out, consumer savings would have gone up an additional $ 2.79 billion, with an additional $ 1.2 billion in merchant savings, and nearly 18,000 more jobs would have been created.

Read more: NGA Outlines Opposition to Interchange Fee Settlement

Further, the study said, if swipe fees for all credit-card transactions had been held to the same level as debit fees in 2012, consumers would have saved an additional $ 15.4 billion and merchants would have saved another $ 6.9 billion, which would have supported creation of 98,600 more jobs per year.

According to Larkin, “While the Federal Reserve Board’s rule incorrectly allowed debit swipe fees to be raised on small purchases — and could have produced even more benefits for consumers and merchants by lowering fees to the more reasonable and proportional levels originally proposed [between 5 cents and 12 cents] — this study clearly illustrates consumers and the economy benefitted from the passage of the Durbin Amendment.”

That amendment, passed in 2010, said debit fees had to be reasonable and proportional to the cost of processing a transaction, an NGA spokesman explained.

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Supermarket News

FDA Sets Fees for FSMA Reinspections, Penalties

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has determined fees for the 2014 fiscal year for certain facility reinspections and penalties related to the Food Safety Modernization Act.

The reinspection fee applies to domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for consumption that have failed a previous inspection due to a food safety issue. Domestic facilities and importers that fail to comply with an FDA recall will also be subject to a fee.


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The fees amount to $ 237 per hour for FDA actions within the U.S. and $ 302 per hour for actions outside the U.S.

The 2014 fiscal year runs from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014.

The fee notice is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Aug. 2.

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