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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 28, 1998


Today I am making available to the Department of Health and Human Services an additional $217 million in emergency funding. These funds were provided in P.L. 105-277, the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, which I signed into law on Wednesday, October 21st.

These funds will provide $50 million to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address the HIV/AIDS crisis facing the African-American community and other racial and ethnic minority communities due to the changing demographics of the disease. These funds are available for HHS to transfer to other agencies for several important purposes:

In addition, these emergency funds will provide HHS with $139 million to prepare for and manage the response to the medical and public health consequences of a chemical-biological weapons incident. Of the $139 million provided, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will use $127 million to establish a civilian pharmaceutical stockpile and to improve public health surveillance, communications, epidemiologic capabilities, and laboratory capacity to respond to a chemical-biological weapons incident. HHS' Office of Emergency Preparedness will use $7 million to enhance medical response systems for a chemical-biological weapons incident, including funds to increase the number of local first responder teams. The remaining funds are for one-time projects initiated by Congress.

Finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will receive $28 million for global polio eradication and measles elimination efforts.

I am disappointed that Congress has chosen to earmark individual projects within the emergency funding provided by P.L. 105-277 for HHS' Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund and has done so in such a way that I must request all of the funds provided or none at all.