"Lawmakers approved legislation early Saturday morning creating a Health and Human Services agency aimed at the prevention of bioterrorism, in a move that continues to delegate to HHS more responsibility in preparing for and responding to a potential biological attack.
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which now awaits President Bush's signature, would authorize more than $5 billion for biomedical research projects and would allow funds for vaccine research and development. The measure would clarify that the HHS secretary would assume the lead role in the event of a bioterrorist attack or disease outbreak, and essentially would relegate the Homeland Security Department to a supporting role.
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said the legislation "supports our efforts to improve coordination of preparedness and response programs across the department."
The new agency within HHS would be called the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The bill authorizes $1 billion for the agency.
The bill reauthorizes the 2002 Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act, which was passed as a response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
A White House spokeswoman said that as of Wednesday afternoon, President Bush had not signed it."--------------------------------------
He's too busy clearing brush and fishing, I'm sure. You'd think he'd be all over this, creating new agencies is kind of his thing. Except, this time it would be under the control of the HHS, not the DHS. He'd better not pocket veto this thing because it snubs his precious little dog-and-pony show of a secret police force.
I just hope they get whoever makes the DOD's websites to do BARDA's, cause HHS pages tend to be a bunch of royal blue on pale yellow snooze fests. With a name like Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, it deserves a weapons grade web design.