FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steve Aaron
COMMISSION APPLAUDS PRESIDENT BIDEN FOR INCLUDING SIGNIFICANT FUNDING FOR BIODEFENSE IN NEW INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 31, 2021) – The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense today issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s American Jobs Plan – an infrastructure program that would invest $30 billion to prevent future pandemics and protect against a range of biological threats. The President’s plan aligns with many Commission recommendations made in its seminal 2015 National Blueprint for Biodefense and its 2021 report, Biodefense in Crisis: Immediate Action Needed to Address National Vulnerabilities.
“In January of this year, the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense called on the federal government to launch an ambitious program to develop and deploy the technologies needed to defend against all biological threats, empower public health, and prevent pandemics,” said Commission Co-Chair and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. “We called it the Apollo Program for Biodefense and said if we act now, we can end the era of pandemic threats by 2030.
“By including an investment of $30 billion in biodefense in his infrastructure plan, President Biden recognizes the seriousness of this challenge and the need to invest smartly in medical countermeasure manufacturing, our strategic national stockpile, prototype vaccines and other critical priorities we identified in our original Blueprint for Biodefense back in 2015.
“The President’s American Jobs Plan is an excellent start and the Commission is pleased to see him making biodefense a national priority. As an organization whose very name includes the word bipartisan, we urge the Administration to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to find areas of agreement. As COVID-19 demonstrated, biological events do not recognize red or blue states. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress in the days and weeks ahead, to help ensure that our Nation is no longer vulnerable to the devastating consequences of biological incidents.”
About the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense
The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Commission’s 2015 report, A National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. In its latest report, Biodefense in Crisis: Immediate Action Needed to Address National Vulnerabilities, the Commission provides new recommendations and describes federal implementation of the Commission’s recommendations. Subsequent Commission publications have addressed critical needs for agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, diagnostics, science and technology, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial response capabilities. In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Commission continues to address biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.