THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (New York, New York) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 8, 1998
PRESIDENT REQUESTS ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR PROTECTION AGAINST BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL TERRORISM
As part of the Administration's ongoing fight against terrorism, President Clinton has asked the Congress to provide an additional $294 million to deter and respond to terrorist incidents involving the use of biological or chemical weapons. This action is part of an integrated plan, announced by the President last month, for the Federal Government to combat and defend against terrorist threats.
"Because we live in an age where technology and terrorism can be combined to deadly effect, it is vital that we take measures to safeguard the health and safety of our civilian population," said President Clinton.
The funding will provide equipment and specialized training for health and rescue workers, improve the current surveillance system to detect biological or chemical agents, and for the first time build a civilian stockpile of antidotes and antibiotics.
The President asked that his Fiscal Year 1999 budget request, currently under consideration by the Congress, be amended to allocate an additional $294 million for chemical and biological warfare to the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If approved, these funds would be available October 1, 1998. They are offset by funding reductions in lower priority program areas.
Specifically, the President requested:
$94 million for HHS to build a civilian stockpile of antidotes and antibiotics to respond to a large scale biological or chemical attack, and to improve the current public health surveillance system in order to rapidly detect chemical or biological agents and analyze resulting disease outbreaks. This increase would almost double HHS pending 1999 request related to chemical and biological warfare.
An additional $10 million to expand the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research programs on bioterrorist agents and candidate vaccines and therapies for these agents.
$190 million for HHS, DOJ, and FEMA for programs to provide specialized equipment, training, and planning assistance for responding to a chemical or biological incident.
Most of the training and equipment would go to State and local governments, who would be the "first responders" to such incidents. In addition, the capacity of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to deter and respond to incidents would be enhanced through additional chemical/biological detection devices, protective suits, and staffing for response units.
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