Stay ahead of developments in federal and state health care law, regulation and transactions with timely, expert news and analysis.
April 28 — The Obama administration's plan to “raid” medical countermeasures funding to combat the Zika virus may deplete the U.S.'s ability to respond to bioterror threats, Republican lawmakers said in an April 28 letter.
The administration's proposal “risks further damaging fragile public-private partnerships by eroding confidence in the federal government’s commitment to procure medical countermeasures,” the letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said.
It asked that the legislative proposal to change the requirements for procuring money from the BioShield Special Reserve Fund (SRF) be removed from President Barack Obama's Zika emergency funding request. The letter was signed by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.); Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.); Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.); and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.).
An HHS spokesman didn't respond to Bloomberg BNA's e-mail request for comment.
Obama asked Congress for $1.9 million in emergency funding to fight the outbreak of the Zika virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects (10 LSLR 04, 2/19/16).
The Republican letter said the legislative proposal that's included in the funding request would make “a substantial statutory change” to remove the requirement for countermeasures procured under the SRF to be linked to a “material threat” determined by the Department of Homeland Security.
Instead, under the proposal, a procurement from the fund would be allowed for any countermeasure that the HHS deems be necessary to diagnose, mitigate, prevent or treat any infectious disease that could threaten public health, the letter said.
“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,” the lawmakers said.
The letter added that the administration's proposal blurs the distinction between public health and natural security threats and that it's at odds with the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense for HHS to prioritize emerging infectious diseases and to use that prioritization to inform funding requests (9 LSLR 1233, 10/30/15).
The lawmakers asked the Obama administration to remove the legislative proposal from the emergency spending request and to discuss the matter separately with the House Energy and Commerce and Senate HELP committees.
To contact the reporter on this story: John T, Aquino in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Randy Kubetin at email@example.com
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)