FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE steve@SRACommunications.comContact: Steve Aaron SRA Communications (717) 554-8614
COMMISSION WELCOMES NEW ANALYSIS OF BIODEFENSE SPENDING THAT WILL HELP INFORM FUTURE INVESTMENTS
Long-Awaited OMB Crosscut Was a Key Recommendation in Bipartisan Commission’s
Original 2015 National Blueprint for Biodefense
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 19, 2023) – The Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense issued a statement today praising the Biden Administration for releasing a new biodefense budget assessment which shows how and where the federal government spends taxpayer dollars on programs that defend against pandemic diseases and other biological threats. “This is a major development in the Nation’s ability to track biodefense spending and reallocate resources,” declared former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge, the Co-Chairs.
“The Commission is grateful that Congress took up our recommendation for a biodefense crosscut and the Office of Management and Budget worked across two Administrations to produce it,” said Commission Co-Chair, former Senator Joe Lieberman. “This new analysis reflects existing biodefense investments, so that Congress and the White House can decide how to direct, or redirect, additional resources to strengthen federal biodefense activities. This is a critical step in ensuring our country has the resources it needs to prevent, deter, prepare for, detect, respond to, recover from, and mitigate biological incidents that threaten our national security.”
Sen. Lieberman noted that the creation and release of the OMB crosscut is the result of a long process the Commission has engaged in over the last seven years. The Commission thanks former Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) for their work to address the Commission’s recommendation in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (Public Law 116-6) and the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Public Law 116-94). The Commission also thanks Representative Jason Crow (D-CO) for including a permanent, annual biodefense crosscut requirement in the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Public Law 116-283). The Commission additionally thanks Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) for his support in making this crosscut possible. You can find the crosscut on the Commission’s website.
“I am glad to see the first biodefense crosscut OMB produced this week and look forward to reading the new crosscuts they produce annually in accordance with congressional mandate,” said Commission Co-Chair, Governor Tom Ridge. “We look forward to seeing future crosscuts provide further detail about federal biodefense spending. As a former Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security, I can tell you that this sort of information helps leaders make the best decisions they can. Given that OMB oversees the implementation of the President’s vision across the Executive Branch, I hope that this new crosscut will help ensure that the federal government has the resources it needs to fully execute the National Biodefense Strategy, another one of our recommendations. The crosscut and the Strategy go hand-in-hand.”
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 an Apollo Program for Biodefense, biological risk reduction, biodetection, agrodefense and the role of the land-grant universities, budget reform, diagnostics, critical infrastructure, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial response capabilities. In September 2018 and in October 2022, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint, and in September 2021 released the American Pandemic Preparedness Plan, taking up recommendations from the Commission’s Apollo Program and Athena Agenda reports. The Commission continues to address biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.