Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has introduced legislation to set higher pay grades for senior scientists at the Food and Drug Administration.

The measure would also authorize purchase of a central computer system for the FDA, which now occupies 23 buildings in the Washington area but has no interconnected computers.Hatch said FDA is "bulging" with 15 trillion pages of drug review data each year and is in critical need of computer assistance.

He said the pay scale increase is necessary because FDA is having trouble recruiting top scientists when private industry can pay far more.

"If we are going to ask the FDA to give Americans confidence in our food supply, our medicines, medical devices and cosmetics for the next 50 years," Hatch said, "we in Congress have the responsibility for giving FDA the resources to do this job."