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Bipartisan BioShield Legislation Introduced

Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology, and Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, joined together with full Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Ranking Member Peter T. King (R-NY) to introduce the “Project BioShield Material Threats Act of 2007,” H.R. 1089.

The BioShield Program was created to develop and procure medical countermeasures against dangerous chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents. The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for determining threats posed to our country by these agents, and for taking specific steps to protect the nation’s citizens from these harms. This legislation will facilitate more rapid completion of material threat assessments, the first step in the BioShield process.

Rep. Langevin issued the following statement regarding the legislation:

“While I fully support the mission of BioShield, the program has encountered several problems since it was enacted nearly three years ago,” said Langevin. Rather than examining each threat individually, we should be looking for ways to properly group these threats together, so we can develop appropriate countermeasures to combat multiple threats. This legislation will promote a more strategic use of our nation’s resources when procuring medical countermeasures and will ultimately lead to a safer and better-prepared public health infrastructure.”

“Effective medical countermeasures for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents are a critical part of our Nation’s defense against terrorism, yet very few exist," Rep. McCaul said. "This legislation will substantially expedite DHS' material threat assessments and determinations and help bring countermeasures to the public faster and more effectively, enhancing our nation's ability to defend against and respond to the growing biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear threats."

Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security added:

“It is critical to our national security that we find countermeasures for these hazardous agents. This legislation pushes us closer to that goal by requiring the Secretary to complete threat assessments for all high risk agents by the end of this year.”

“This important legislative effort was led by Mr. Linder in the 109th Congress, and I am pleased to see that bipartisan spirit continue,” Ranking Member King said. “This bill will accelerate the acquisition of medical countermeasures, allowing us to better protect our first responders, healthcare workers, and citizens nationwide.”

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Please contact Dena Graziano or Todd Levett at (202) 225-9978.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson

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