Rep. Brad Sherman introduces bioterror bill

U.S. Representative Brad Sherman has introduced a bill that lawmakers hope will improve the international strategy of the United States for monitoring, reducing, and responding to biological risks.

Sherman, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, said the bill will support efforts to help other nations strengthen their ability to detect and cope with potential bioterror attacks.

The bill includes the requirement that the State Department provides an assessment of the global regime for biosecurity. The bill also calls for the creation of an international advisory committee of nongovernment experts that would serve as a consulting body for the International Biosecurity Initiative.

Another goal of the bill will be to encouraging the development and implementation of emergency reporting and response in the event of a breach of pathogen or laboratory security.

Staff members with the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee said they have met with members of the Homeland Security Committee staff to discuss the possible merger of Sherman’s bill with the WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2010, which was introduced in June, reports.

The bills, however, have not yet been scheduled for floor action.

Sherman is also supporting another bill he recently introduced, the Stop Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program Act, H.R. 6296, which hopes to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran and its remaining business partners.

“Existing Iran Sanctions have had a significant impact on Iran’s economy, but have not achieved the ultimate goal of ending Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” Sherman said, reports. “We must continue to enact tougher sanctions to isolate Iran economically and diplomatically, and we must act now.”