House Sends 'Bioshield' Bill to President

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday night gave final approval to a bill that would provide $5.6 billion over the next decade to pay private firms to develop diagnostic tests, vaccines, and treatments for potential weapons of bioterror.

The vote was 414-2. “We are unleashing the creative genius of the private sector,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Christopher Cox, (Republican) of California. President Bush first asked Congress to pass “Project Bioshield” in his 2003 State of the Union address — 18 months ago. While the House first acted last July, the measure languished in the Senate while senators argued over federal purchasing rules, among other things. Once the Senate passed the bill two months ago, it bogged down in the House again. Full Story

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