Biodefense Budget Debate
Senators, led by Bill Frist (R-Tenn) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass), introduced a bill on November 15 that calls for $3.2 billion to be spent on the nation's defense against bioterrorism. In October, Bush had proposed a budget of $1.5 billion for bioterrorism preparedness, of the total $40 billion proposed for general defense against terrorism.
The Frist-Kennedy proposal, like Bush's, calls for $509 million for purchasing enough smallpox vaccine for the country's population and for $643 million in funds to be spent on beefing up the nation's stockpile of drugs for use after bioterrorist attack. The key difference in the plans, however, is the amount to be funneled into state and local governments. Whereas the Bush plan proposes $300 million be allocated to bolstering local preparedness, Frist and Kennedy call for approximately $1.1 billion in aid to states, which includes $670 to fund grants for bioterrorism preparedness.
Sen. Frist remarked at the introduction …