Upton, Brooks, Alexander, and Burr to Obama Admin: Hands Off BioShield Special Reserve Fund

Obama Administration Wrongly Eyes Raiding BioShield Resources, Which Will Deplete U.S. Capabilities to Combat Bioterror Threats

WASHINGTON, DC – Concerned with depleting U.S. capabilities to respond to bioterror threats, House and Senate leaders today pressed HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell on plans within the administration’s emergency spending request on the Zika virus to raid the BioShield Special Reserve Fund for threats unrelated to our national security. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) spearheaded the effort along with committee member Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

“This proposal represents a substantial statutory change to remove the requirement for countermeasures procured under the BioShield Special Reserve Fund (SRF) to be linked to a Material Threat Determination by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and, if enacted, would result in our nation being less prepared against serious threats,” wrote Upton, Brooks, Alexander, and Burr.

The leaders continue, “We are deeply concerned about this proposal. The proposal risks further damaging fragile public-private partnerships by eroding confidence in the federal government’s commitment to procure medical countermeasures, one of the critical roles the BioShield SRF plays in attracting and sustaining the private sector’s research and development of medical countermeasures against very serious identified CBRN threats, such as hemorrhagic fever, typhus, and small pox. The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget proposed decreasing funding for the SRF by $160 million. Just weeks later, the Administration then proposed expanding what would be eligible for these targeted resources. These actions do not instill confidence that the federal government is the committed partner needed in these public-private partnerships.”

Click here to view the letter.