The House Appropriations Committee's FY2016 Agriculture Appropriation Bill includes funding for the Food Contact Notification (FCN) Program. The bill passed in the Committee on July 8, 2015, by a vote of 29-21. The Committee Report on the bill states:
The funds made available by this Act include sufficient monies to fund the FDA's Food Contact Notification Program and shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of 21 U.S.C. 348(h)(5)(A). The Committee recommendation does not include proposed user fees.
The Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 established the FCN Program with the stipulation that it shall only operate in years when sufficient funds have been appropriated by Congress. While the House Appropriations Committee has included sufficient funds for the program for FY2016, the President's proposed FY2016 budget includes $5 million in user fees from FCN submissions. This is not the first time the president's proposed budget has included user fees for FCN submissions; however, the fees have never been included in Agriculture Appropriation Bills passed by Congress.
For a discussion on potential challenges associated with a user fee-funded FCN Program, see the PackagingLaw.com article, User Fees for the FCN Program – Vigilance Required.