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WASHINGTON — For the last six months, Congress seemed to be sailing towards the uncharacteristically smooth passage of a massive, multibillion-dollar bill to fund the Food and Drug Administration.

That all changed late last week when one powerful lawmaker, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), came out in opposition to the so-called user fee reauthorization bill he helped craft — and supported throughout the committee process.


If Congress can’t agree to pass a user fee package by August, the FDA will send out pink slips to the thousands of FDA employees whose jobs are funded by user fees. If Congress can’t get it done by the official Sept. 30 deadline, those workers will be furloughed.

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