House Committee moves on WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act

Representatives of the House Homeland Security Committee voted unanimously to approve H.R. 2356, the WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2011, on Wednesday.

"Approval today of H.R. 2356 will mark the second consecutive Congress that this committee has produced comprehensive legislation to enhance our ability to be prepared for, respond to, and recover from a WMD attack," Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said upon introducing the bill.

The bill is 97 pages long and is intended to enhance Homeland Security's ability to confront issues surrounding WMDs.

The bill was introduced in June by Representative Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), and includes provisions calling for the development of a national biodefense plan, including the creation of an appointed Special Assistant to the President for Biodefense. In addition, the bill also calls for a separate national biosurveillance strategy.

Ranking Member Thompson recognized Pascrell for the hard work he put into authoring the bill, noting that "Representative Pascrell deserves credit for taking on the complex challenge of addressing the WMD threat and producing the WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act."

During the markup session, a total of eight amendments were made to the bill, each made in the nature of a substitute. The eight amendments were all approved by unanimous consent, and the Committee adopted H.R. 2356, as amended, by unanimous consent.