By: Gina Luke, assistant director, Governmental Relations Division
On June 6, the U.S. House passed its fiscal 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations bill (H.R. 2217) by a vote of 245-182. The bill provides funding for the Department of Homeland Security and the programs it oversees, including funding for facilities that will research animal diseases that could potentially devastate U.S. livestock.
The House-passed bill includes $404 million through the end of Sept. 2018 for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a bio-containment facility slated for construction in Manhattan, Kansas, which will house studies on foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic diseases that could threaten U.S. animal agriculture and public health. The funding is less than the $714 million that President Obama requested in his budget—which AVMA supported—but provides the necessary funds for the facility to sign contracts and begin construction in 2014.
The House passed its bill only one day after U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) attempted to block funding for the facility altogether. Rep. Bishop’s district includes the current veterinary research facility, Plum Island, which is nearing the end of its lifecycle and which NBAF is set to replace.
The House Appropriations Committee and its Homeland Security Subcommittee previously marked up and passed the appropriations bill out of their respective committees last month. See article from last month’s issue of The Advocate.