House Appropriations Committee approves DHS funding needed for NBAF

The House Appropriations Committee recently sent a bill to the full House that would provide the DHS the funding it needs to finish construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).

DHS received $404 million in fiscal year 2014 for the Manhattan, Kan.-based biosafety level 4 facility and estimates an additional $300 million in FY 2015 is needed to fully fund facility construction. No further requests for appropriations for the NBAF are planned after FY 2015 if the DHS is granted the request.

Once completed, the NBAF would replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

The committee sent the FY 2015 DHS funding bill to the House following a voice vote last week. The bill provides $39.2 billion in funding for the DHS, which is $50 billion below the enacted levels for FY 2014 but $887.8 million above President Obama's request.

If passed, the bill would provide approximately $928 million for research and development, which would be 10.1 percent less than FY 2014 levels. The drop is mostly the result of the reduced request for construction of the NBAF.

The committee also elected to keep overall funding for the research, development and innovation account flat with FY 2014 levels. It also granted an extra $10 million to cooperative university research and development programs and gave $2 million above the request to the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office's National Nuclear Forensics Expertise Development Program.