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House Committee Passes Biological Defense Measure

By Kristen A. Lee, CongressDaily

WASHINGTON — The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday passed legislation to promote countermeasures to bioterrorism and other public health threats (see GSN, Sept. 12).

The Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2006, expands on Project BioShield, which was signed into law two years ago.

Global Security Newswire

The bill establishes a point of authority in the federal government — the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority — to coordinate and facilitate efforts to develop countermeasures for bioterrorism or pandemic infectious diseases.

The legislation, which passed on voice vote, also authorizes $160 million in fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2008 for advanced research and development.

Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who cosponsored the legislation with Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), cited the threat of avian influenza or another anthrax attack as reasons for the bill's passage.

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) offered a substitute amendment that made technical changes to the bill. The manager's amendment also passed by voice vote.