Project BioShield Among Bush Initiatives To Stall in Congress
The Washington Post on Monday examined Project BioShield and other initiatives launched by President Bush that are "languishing in Congress even though his party controls both chambers." In his 2003 State of the Union address 14 months ago, Bush proposed Project BioShield, a 10-year, $6 billion program to develop vaccines and medicines to help U.S. residents survive bioterror attacks. The House approved the plan, but it "bogged down in the Senate" because of disagreements over several provisions, the Post reports. Most of the objections have been resolved, and only minor disagreements remain, according to Senate staffers. But still no action has been taken on the plan, despite speeches made by Bush in June 2003 and March of this year urging passage of the bill. The "chief need" is for the government to purchase a stockpile of anti-anthrax drugs, according to Asha George, managing director of the think tank Anser Institute for Homeland Security. She added, "If the administration really wants to do this, then the administration is going to have to agree to buy it." Officials for Human Genome Sciences, a company testing the anti-anthrax drug Abthrax, have repeatedly told Congress and the administration that a federal pledge to purchase the drug is necessary to make the drug's development feasible. White House spokesperson Erin Healy said the Bush administration is "still very committed" to Project BioShield (Babington, Washington Post, 4/5).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.