The Food and Drug Administration is an agency with a mixed agenda. The FDA, which oversees food safety and approves drugs for use in the United States, has come under fire simultaneously for being too slow in approving drugs while not being cautious enough when it comes to food inspections. Also with the proposed settlement between the states' attorneys general and the tobacco industry, the agency could soon be regulating cigarettes and other tobacco products, but is the agency capable of what is being asked of it?
Many Congressional critics say the FDA is seeing too fast an increase in funding and responsibility and that no government agency can adequately respond.
New Hampshire Republican John Sununu Jr. has been an outspoken proponent of limited government since coming to D.C. Although his focus has been on balancing the federal budget and reducing taxes he did vote on several measures concerning the FDA. In July, Congress considered Food and Drug Administration funding for the next fiscal year. The bill passed by the House increased funding for the agency fairly substantially. But critics still contend the agency is only questionably effective. Rep. Sununu, although not a particularly vocal critic of the FDA, did vote against an amendment that would have increased the FDA funding by $10 million.
Representative Julia Carson (D-IN), came down on the other side of the vote on the amendment offered by fellow Democrat Martin Meehan of Massachusetts. She did vote to increase the proposed FDA budget by another $10 million to cover costs associated with increased tobacco oversight.
This forum addresses the following issues: Should the FDA be responsible for regulating tobacco? Has the FDA adequately addressed what its current responsibilities are? Can the agency handle its new responsibilities?