Senate agrees to BARDA amendment to FY2014 budget

The Senate agreed in voice vote to an amendment proposed by Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) that would fully fund the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in the financial year 2014 government budget.

Burr proposed amendment no. 232 at the Senate budget amendment hearing on Sunday. The amendment amended a bill setting forth the congressional budget for fiscal year 2014 and provided full funding to BARDA and the BioShield Special Reserve Fund.

"The purpose of my amendment is very simple," Burr said. "It is to protect the American people and strengthen our national security by fully funding the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the BioShield Reserve Fund. BARDA and BioShield are critical components of our nation's medical countermeasure enterprise."

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, BARDA is a program that develops and obtains necessary medical countermeasures, such as vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, against natural and intentional public health threats. Project BioShield was designed to provide authorities with the flexibility and funding needed to expedite and support the development and procurement of countermeasures for biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear threats.

"Today these programs ensure that we have the (countermeasures) necessary to protect the American people against the full range of chemical, biologic, radiological, and nuclear threats whether natural or the result of manmade attacks," Burr said. "After [September 11th, 2001] Congress established BioShield to encourage the development of these countermeasures. Supporting BARDA and BioShield at their authorized levels is a matter of national security and should be a priority. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment."

There was no further debate on the amendment and the amendment was agreed to as is.