Sample Paper on The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) budget

The Food and Drug Administration Budget; Department of Defense

Budget Overview

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) budget is allocated as an independent budget. The agency’s budget request is under the jurisdiction of the federal budget office yet not classified as part of the federal government’s macro budget. Anderson and Penner (2016) highlighted the budget requirements and conditions for each of the government agencies. The FDA is categorized as a discretionary budget in the federal budget classification (Alabama Policy Institute, n.d). This implies that the amounts allocated for the agency can vary depending on the noted needs of the agency. While some discretionary budgets such as that for the department of defense are within the macro budget, the FDA budget is considered to affect the federal budget on a micro scale (Alliance for a Stronger FDA, par. 1). The FDA is considered to be a component of the department of Health and Human Services and the budget is conducted by the HHS which is a macro discretionary expenditure. As such, the department has to clearly communicate its needs and plans for the budget a year prior to funds allocation. The federal government then allocates funds depending on the intended discretionary budget cap for the year and the available funds after covering the macro budget components. The budget authority assigned to the agency depends on the proof and efficiency of plans developed by the agency and its capacity to pursue those plans as indicated in the budget request documents.  It is also influenced by the total budget authority allocated to the department of Health and Human Services. The budget request has to be made independently by the agency and submitted to the HHS budgeting committee.

Budgeting as an independent agency process entails several key stages considered to contribute in different measures to the agency needs. For instance, the budget authority for FDA for the year 2016 was $ 5.104 billion. The expected federal budget proposals for 2017 for the department of defense was based on the budget outlay for 2016 and approximated at an extra $ 358 million ( par. 2-3). This was based on the adjustments made to various expenditure elements of the budget. For instance, the prescription drug expenditure was expected to rise by about 14 million dollars. Upon the provision of such funding, the department is bound to make appropriate changes to their budgetary practices.

Budgeting Assessment

Based on the descriptions provided by the HHS on behalf of the FDA and the detailed outline of the plans and objectives of the department, it can be deduced that the agency has effectively laid down budgetary ambitions. From the budget request reports, the agency has managed to clearly communicate its needs to the federal budgeting committee, to provide the rationale for their requested budgets with reference to each of the outlined needs and to effectively prioritize the needs based on the foreign policies and the past expenditures. The budget can thus be said to be commensurate to the expectations of the federal government from the agency.

Based on an evaluation of the agency’s past budget outlays and the corresponding authorities, it is clear that the agency does not place greater priority on internal expenditures except for salaries. The major contributions to the expected budget increase corresponds to the projects held by the department for the public good. Foreign policies and developments in reference to drug use and administration, as well as those related to food safety, guide the budgeting practice of the department. As such, the agency budget is befitting to the needs of the industry. Anderson and Penner (2016) assert that the budget, both at federal and agency level should embody the national objectives, provide sufficient information to the treasury concerning the agency requirements, propose resource allocation to serve national interest, embody fiscal and foreign policies in the country and provide information to the public regarding the needs of the agency and how they fit into the national objectives. These features characterize the FDA budget in various ways. For instance, the agency has clearly outlined its key plans and objectives and the reasons for their engagement in various proposed activities. All the explanations provided by the agency satisfy the need and expectations of the federal budgeting committee. Furthermore, the descriptive information provided in relation to modernizing food safety, enhancing the department’s infrastructures and facilities; enhancing countermeasures in medicine and reducing the use and impacts of tobacco and other drugs, all fall within the national development goals vision 2050 ( par. 4- 8).

Analysis of Budgeting Plans and Actual Expenditures

Budgetary plans and implementations have to be developed by the FDA under the direct oversight of the Department of Health and Human Services. The collaboration between different factions results in the realization of effective approaches to budgeting and efficient handling of the process. In furthering the objectives of the agency and the nation as a whole, the two agencies collaborate in the determination of the departmental needs and allocation of funds to each of the recognized needs. This enables the department to get an effective outlay for the enactment of its recommendations and conducting its activities.

Apart from the Department of HHS, other agencies that influence the budgetary decisions are the federal budgeting committee and the treasury. The treasury may allow or constrain the spending of the agency on its key priorities depending on the available federal funds. Federal and appropriation funds influence the decisions to implement certain aspects of the budget while leaving out others. This means that while the agency may obtain a wide budget authority, the actual expenditure can be varied depending on spontaneous and other emerging expenses. In such cases, the decision to implement other aspects of the budget would depend on the constraints placed by the national treasury. The government accountability office is also responsible for evaluation and reporting on various budgetary practices at federal and agency levels (Hook, 2013).

Implications of Foreign Policy

Foreign policy implications on the FDA budgeting mainly come about as a result of drug and food safety control policies. Measures that regulate the food safety standards; harmful substance use and abuse; and cosmetics manufacturing, import and export activities, influence the budget allocation to FDA. The FDA has the mandate to protect the U.S citizens as well as others from harmful substances through implementation of safety strategies and control measures for harmful substances. The resource requirements for FDA therefore have to be in line with the agency needs and the policies guiding the agency’s activities. As such, it can be unreasonable to spend more on these areas that are against the international policy at the expense of the other, more allowable expenditures. The FDA budget must adhere to the foreign policy requirements as well as to the federal and the HHS budgets.

In the contemporary times, the most common foreign policy issue that affects the FDA is the restrictions on FDA regulated products such as medical imports. Greater technological advancement has led to increased production of medical products across the world. The FDA has to put in place measures for testing and determining the safety of cosmetics and medical drugs that come into the country. To some extent, this raises the agency budgets and subsequently the federal budgets both in terms of federal funds and appropriation funds. Foreign policy issues have to be checked and updated frequently where possible to ensure that the agency needs are addressed as soon as they arise.

Budget Request and Recommendations

Based on the results of the conducted interviews, the two most important requirements are to address the specific needs of the department. According to the respondents, the FDA has many mandates, some of which are somehow being ignored. While the fight against cigarettes is common in the country, the FDA does not address other drug issues with similar energy. More people are getting hurt through the other drugs than are affected by the cigarettes. This calls for a collaborative approach in the agency budgeting process and can result in the fulfillment of the needs of each of the different potential clients. It is thus recommended that the department should take the initiative to create an agency budget committee which incorporates representatives from each of the departments of the HHS. In this way, a budget, which satisfies the needs of the entire agency as well as those of the target population, can be realized. It can also be essential for effective prioritization of the budgeting needs of the agency.




Alabama Policy Institute (n.d). Federal budget – the facts. Retrieved from

Alliance for a Stronger FDA (2017). How the federal budget applies to the FDA- A refresher for FY 2017. Retrieved from

Anderson, B. and Penner, R. (2016). Time for a new budget concepts commission. Economic Studies at Brookings Discussion Paper, (3). Retrieved from

HHS. gov (2017). HHS FY 2017 in brief – FDA. Retrieved from

Hook, S. (2013). U.S foreign policy: The paradox of world power. CQ Press. Retrieved from




Interview Questions

  1. Do you think the FDA addressed its key financial challenges effectively last year?
  2. What changes would you desire to see in the department’s planning?
  3. Do you believe the allocated funds were efficiently utilized for the department?
  4. What would be your recommendation on the allocation of discretionary and mandatory budgets within the FDA and the HHS?
  5. Can you recommend the use of alternative approaches to budgeting in the department?


Question Respondent 1 Respondent 2
1. Most of the requirements were met so, yes. They have done a lot but I believe they could do better
2. I think by including more of the members in the budget process, we will be better placed to understand the needs of the department. I feel the FDA budget should have incorporate their activities with reference to various other drug.
3. Yes Yes
4. This should be based on the intra departmental organization and needs, the department should rely on the federal systems to be organized completely. Any form of budgetary allocations should be founded on the departmental/ sectional needs and their prioritization.
5. I believe the department has enough specialists to handle this. All I can say is that the process only needs to be more involving in order to understand the needs of all members.