Outcry against BioShield cuts continues

A recently drafted letter that has been signed by 17 senators roundly denounces efforts to cut billions in funding for drugs and vaccines meant to fight bioterrorism.

The letter, ABC26.com reports, takes aim at a recent House budget bill that would see the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund slashed by up to $2 billion.

The White House has not objected to the proposed cuts and has criticized the fund.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Ct.), however, has decried the potential cut in a Thursday statement. Lieberman was joined by Republicans Richard Burr of North Carolina and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the authors of the 2004 law that created the BioShield Special Reserve Fund.

Seven more Democrats and six more Republicans also signed Lieberman's letter, ABC26.com reports.

"The catastrophic events of September 11th and the anthrax attacks that followed demonstrated that our government was ill prepared to deal with the kinds of terrorist attacks we may well face in the future," Lieberman said, according to ABC26.com. "We still have no modern vaccine for anthrax and no countermeasures for dozens of other potential bioterror pathogens. The BioShield program was meant to address these serious security shortcomings."

The House bill, Lieberman continues, "would be frightfully shortsighted and would jeopardize the security of the American people against a very real and potent threat."