House Panel Rejects Plan To Shift Research Responsibility From CDC, NIH to New Homeland Security Department
The House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday rejected a proposal by President Bush to move health research responsibilities to a new Department of Homeland Security, clarifying that HHS would maintain "primary responsibility" for such research, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Anderson, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/12). In a voice vote, the committee approved an amended version of a bill (HR 5005) that would establish a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security. The amended bill would allow the CDC and NIH to maintain their health research and development responsibilities, rather than move them to the new department. "We should in no way allow the decisions of trained scientists at the CDC and NIH to be superseded by a Department of Homeland Security that has no scientists on its staff," Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said (CQ Daily Monitor Midday Update, 7/11). Under the amended bill, the proposed homeland security department would identify research priorities, but decisions on which research to conduct would be made jointly with other departments. The amended legislation also would establish the position of Undersecretary for Research, Development and Technology Systems in the new department, rather than an undersecretary of "countermeasures" as Bush had proposed. The research undersecretary would be responsible for developing "countermeasures to chemical biological, radiological, nuclear and other emerging terrorist threats." In addition, the amended legislation does not designate one national laboratory as the "lead center" for homeland security research and development, as Bush had proposed (Shapley, National Journal News Service, 7/11). The legislation would move the "management of strategic pharmaceutical products" from the CDC to the proposed homeland security department (CQ Daily Monitor Midday Update, 7/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.