President-Elect Trump, Incoming Congress Should Prioritize Biodefense Efforts

TIME: Tom Ridge and Joseph Lieberman: How Donald Trump Can Protect America from Bioterrorism
Tom Ridge and Joseph Lieberman, co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense

“…When President-elect Trump assumes the Oval Office this January, he has a unique opportunity to fulfill his promise to make America safe again — by taking steps to protect the nation from bioterrorism. … So what should President-elect Trump and the 115th Congress do when they take office? For his part, Mr. Trump should immediately put the vice president in charge of the nation’s biodefense efforts. … The vice president should have the authority to review and advise on biodefense budget matters and to oversee a biodefense coordination council that includes representatives from the private and public sectors. Congress must streamline oversight. … We also urge Congress to implement uniform budgeting and build preparedness measures into annual budgets, instead of relying on emergency funding bills that cost lives and financial resources. These acts and the other measures we recommend don’t involve significant new spending. Most simply require better use of existing resources. Next year offers a real chance for our leaders to get biodefense right…” (12/13).