April 17, 2020

Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense Co-Chairs Say Finger-Pointing on COVID-19 Testing Must Stop


Contact: Steve Aaron
SRA Communications
(717) 554-8614


Federal and State Governments Must Keep Working Together to
Increase Testing Capacity for the American People

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 17, 2020) – Former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman and Gov. Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, who together co-chair the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, today urged President Trump and the Nation’s governors to end non-productive finger-pointing on COVID-19 testing. Instead, they must work together in common purpose to find ways to increase testing capacity.

“The White House released a strategy to reopen the Nation, but it depends in part on widespread testing,” said Gov. Ridge. “Unfortunately, the capacity and capability to do that today do not yet exist. The Federal government is in the best position to expedite their manufacture. All of us want to see the U.S. reopen as soon as possible, so it is incumbent on the White House and our Governors to stop bickering and focus on the tasks at hand. Together, they must determine what they need to request from Congress to support their efforts and rebuild the capacity for testing that the Nation lost with decreasing funds for public health.”

“Quicker outcomes depend on greater cooperation,” said Sen. Lieberman. “The federal government and the states are already working together to increase testing capacity – that must continue,” said Sen. Lieberman. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State and local public health laboratories are working with laboratory-based diagnostic tests and exchanging information to improve what they have right now. Industry is working with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the Food and Drug Administration to develop and field diagnostic tests in the States, as well. Increasing testing capacity must be among our top national priorities.”

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. Subsequent Commission publications have addressed critical needs for agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial support. In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Commission continues to assess biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission, and are joined by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, and former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.