Issue Date: August 8, 2011
House Panel Moves Biodefense Bill
The House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee has endorsed legislation that would reauthorize and fine-tune a 2006 law aimed at making sure the federal government is prepared to respond to a biological, chemical, radioactive, or nuclear terrorist attack. Specifically, H.R. 2405 is intended to renew the Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority and Project BioShield. The programs, overseen by the Health & Human Services Department, provide funding to promote development and stockpiling of vaccines and other medical countermeasures for anthrax, smallpox, and other threats. Rep. Mike J. Rogers (R-Mich.), the bill’s sponsor, says the legislation is particularly important as the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks approaches. “Bioterrorism still represents a real threat to this country,” Rogers noted at a committee hearing last month. “Simply put, we must always be prepared.” The bill now heads to the House floor. Meanwhile, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee is drafting similar legislation.
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