Senators to introduce legislation to extend BARDA by five years

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Representative Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) recently announced their intent to introduce legislation that would extend the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for the next five years.

Lieberman and Rogers spoke about their plan to provide a secure funding stream for BARDA at a bioterrorism forum held at the George Washington University, according to

Congress initiated BARDA in 2006 to support the development of medical countermeasures in response to a potential bioterrorist attack or public health emergency. A $6 billion fund was simultaneously established to stockpile vaccines and other medicine.

Former Senators Bob Graham (D-Florida) and Jim Talent (R-Missouri), the chair and vice chair of the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, were also present at the forum, according to The pair shared their concerns about the use of bioweapons, but did not reveal any information concerning the fall release of their annual WMD report card.

“The intention to obtain and use [bioagents] as weapons is real,” Rogers said, according to Rogers went on to say that evidence collected from Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, proves that al-Qaeda intends to use bioterror against the United States.

Lieberman said that more oversight is needed for labs that work with potentially dangerous bioagents. While the Department of Health and Human Services currently sets security standards for these facilities, Lieberman said that the Department of Homeland Security should also be involved.

The legislation introduced by Lieberman and Rogers would also include a provision to train law enforcement agencies to detect and recover biological weapons and mandate a national emergency communications strategy, reports.