WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today received confirmation of U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s support for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) to be built in Kansas. In a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing today, Sen. Moran spoke with Sec. Napolitano about the lack of resources for NBAF in the President’s FY2013 budget request. Highlights from their conversation today at the hearing can be found below.
SEN. MORAN: “You can imagine the disappointment I have, and others in our Congressional delegation, in regard to the President’s failure to include dollars related to the construction for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to replace the aging Plumb Island.
“You and I had a conversation in March of last year in a Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. You told me: ‘NBAF is something that we are very supportive of. Plum Island does not meet the nation’s needs in this area. Kansas was the winner of a very highly contested peer-reviewed competition, and we look forward to its continued construction in Kansas. We believe NBAF needs to be built and we need to get on with it.’
“I would like for you to reiterate the Department’s continued support and belief in the importance of building this facility and explain to me the idea of a reassessment, which as I read in press reports, is a reassessment in scope only – not in concerns about safety or in concerns about location.”
SEC. NAPOLITANO: “The President did not request in the budget an appropriation for NBAF. … We have recommended there be a reassessment in light of the Budget Control Act, in terms not of location, not in terms of need – both of which I firmly stand by the position I have stated. But in terms of what needs to happen so that this project can move forward with the right level of appropriation.”
SEN. MORAN: “The solution to the lack of funding by Congress is not for the Administration to not request funding. The solution to that problem is continued support and encouragement for Congress to act. …I will be asking you by letter shortly to continue the funding of the $40 million that is available and is appropriated, and now as a result of the report filed this week, can be spent to complete the federal share of the utility portion of this facility. Based upon what I have heard you say, it’s not about location, it’s not about the site, and it may be about the scope of what will occur – but the utility pad is still important and will be necessary regardless of the scope of the project, so we are going to ask you to continue the funding that you have already committed to and are authorized to now spend.
“I would add that we have appropriated $200 million federal dollars. The state of Kansas has put in nearly $150 million. This is a partnership and we need the federal government to continue its partnership. In fact, on the utility portion, we are waiting on the share that you are now authorized to spend, to be spent. My plea is: let’s work together to see that this Congress moves forward on an issue that is important to the economic security and future of our nation.”