House panel approves cuts to FDA, CFTC

The House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday approved major cuts to food safety and nutrition programs, as well as an agency charged with implementing part of the new financial regulatory reform law.

The panel voted to cut the FDA's budget by 11.5 percent, or roughly $285 million, a move that would roll back a string of hard-fought increases that began during the last years of the George W. Bush administration.

Its 2012 spending bill also slashes funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. President Obama requested an increase of more than $100 million for the regulatory agency, but House Republicans responded by cutting some $30 million from last year's spending levels.

The proposal would cut funding for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food assistance program by $832 million, or 12 percent.

The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated the cuts would force WIC to turn away 325,000 to 475,000 eligible low-income women and young children next year.