WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 31, 2022) – The Biden Administration’s proposed FY 2023 budget, unveiled by The White House this week, includes $88.2 billion in funding to enable America to rapidly produce and deliver medical countermeasures against pandemics and other biological threats. The request significantly addresses ten priorities identified by the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense in its 2021 Apollo Program for Biodefense.
To achieve the results sought in the Apollo report, the Commission urged the Administration and Congress to include funds for The Apollo Program for Biodefense as part of a unified biodefense budget and in the President’s Budget Request; appropriate long-term, multi-year funding for the Program; and fully implement the remaining recommendations laid out in the Commission’s 2015 National Blueprint for Biodefense.
The President’s Budget Request includes $40 billion in mandatory, non-annual spending for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to invest in advanced development and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – including vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and next-generation personal protection equipment (PPE) – for high priority threats and viral families.
“When the Commission first released our Apollo Program for Biodefense report in 2021, we said that if the U.S. government acts quickly, our recommendations could effectively end the era of pandemic threats and eliminate U.S. vulnerabilities to biological attacks,” said former Senator and Commission Co-Chair Joe Lieberman. “With the release of this budget request, the Biden Administration is delivering on these goals with the science, technologies, and medicines we need to make invisible biological enemies visible and take pandemic threats off the table within ten years. Our Commission thanks President Biden for his leadership which will save lives in the future.”
The 2021 report, The Apollo Program for Biodefense: Winning the Race Against Biological Threats, details an ambitious program to develop and deploy the technologies needed to defend against all biological threats, empower public health, and prevent pandemics. The President’s Budget Request speaks to the following ten priorities laid out in our report:
“We are gratified to see many of our recommendations taken up by the President’s Budget Request,” said former Secretary of Homeland Security and Commission Co-Chair Tom Ridge. “The very reason we created our Commission was to help inform the Administration and Congress of the gaps that exist and provide a blueprint for biodefense. Now we must invest in the science and technology we need to achieve our next great national goal – freedom from devastating infectious diseases that affect our national security. The Administration’s request takes a critical and significant step forward in this effort. Responsibility now falls on Congress to fund these activities and ensure something like COVID-19 never happens again.”
Those interested in learning more are invited to visit www.TheNextApollo.com.
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 report, Biodefense in Crisis: Immediate Action Needed to Address National Vulnerabilities, the Commission described the extent to which the federal government has implemented the Commission’s recommendations. Other Commission publications have addressed critical needs for agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, diagnostics, Apollo Program for Biodefense, national biodetection, biodefense of critical infrastructure, 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 and in September 2021 released the American Pandemic Preparedness plan, based on the Apollo Program report. 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.