Yesterday, the Senate passed a whopping $107 billion Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill to fund the war in Iraq. Attached to the bill was an amendment by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that adds $2.3 billion to prepare for an influenza pandemic. Such money will also prepare the country for other public health emergencies and is a strong indication that Congress is starting to take the threat of Avian Influenza seriously. The bulk of the bill consists of $67.8 billion for the Pentagon to support the war in Iraq and $27 billion in hurricane relief.
The whole amendment can be found in the extended comments section:
Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2006, and For Other Purposes.
Harkin Avian Flu Amendment
Add at the appropriate place the following:
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
PUBLIC HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES EMERGENCY FUND
SEC.____. For an additional amount for ‘‘Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund’’ to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic, including international activities and activities in foreign countries, preparedness planning, enhancing the pandemic influenza regulatory science base, accelerating pandemic influenza disease surveillance, developing registries to monitor influenza vaccine distribution and use, supporting pandemic influenza research, clinical trials and clinical trials infrastructure, and the development and purchase of vaccines, antivirals, and necessary medical supplies, $2,300,000,000, to remain available until expended: Provided, That $300,000,000 shall be for Upgrading State and Local Capacity, $50,000,000 shall be for laboratory capacity and research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and at least $200,000,000 shall be for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out global and domestic disease surveillance, laboratory capacity and research, laboratory diagnostics, risk communication, rapid response and quarantine: Provided further, That products purchased with these funds may, at the discretion of the Secretary, be deposited in the Strategic National Stockpile: Provided further, That notwithstanding section 496(b) of the Public Health Service Act, funds may be used for the construction or renovation of privately owned facilities for the production of pandemic influenza vaccines and other biologicals, where the Secretary finds such a contract necessary to secure sufficient supplies of such vaccines or biologicals: Provided further, That the Secretary may negotiate a contract with a vendor under which a State may place an order with the vendor for antivirals; may reimburse a State for a portion of the price paid by the State pursuant to such an order; and may use amounts made available herein for such reimbursement: Provided further, That funds appropriated herein and not specifically designated under this heading may be transferred to other appropriation accounts of the Department of Health and Human Services, as determined by the Secretary to be appropriate, to be used for the purposes specified in this sentence: Provided further, That the amounts provided under this heading are designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 402 of H. Con. Res. 95 (109th Congress), the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2006.