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Today, the United States Senate passed the amendment offered by Senators Edward Kennedy, Tom Harkin, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and Evan Bayh that will provide four billion dollars to stockpile vaccines to combat the flu. Kennedy praised the amendment’s passage, “I commend the Senate for providing the resources needed to prepare for the winter months ahead and I urge quick action on this measure. This Administration has for too long neglected their duty to protect the American people from a deadly flu outbreak -- just as they failed to prepare adequately for the hurricanes that devastated the Gulf Coast. Funds for public health preparedness have been cut. Resources to help hospitals cope with epidemics have been denied. Needed medicines have not been stockpiled. Let us pray that the American people do not have to pay a price for these glaring failures. Today is the first step toward ensuring that the American people receive the public health protections they need and deserve." ###