NATIONAL BRIEFING / WASHINGTON, D.C.
President Obama’s contingency plan to help finance production of a swine flu vaccine with funds set aside to develop defenses against biological attacks would weaken the nation’s preparedness for terrorism, said leaders of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism.
The White House asked Congress last week for authority to spend up to $9 billion more for an H1N1 flu vaccine and other preparations against the flu strain that appeared in April. Of that, $3 billion could come from the Project BioShield Special Reserve Fund.
“Using BioShield funds for flu preparedness will severely diminish the nation’s efforts to prepare for WMD events and will leave the nation less, not more, prepared,” the bipartisan commission’s chairman, former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), and vice chairman, former Sen. James Talent (R-Mo.), wrote to Obama and his budget director, Peter R. Orszag.