Some fissures have erupted among the Kansas Congressional delegation over how the House budget bill might affect the proposed National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF).
The Department of Homeland Security project is currently under construction in Manhattan, Kan., but is behind schedule and underfunded.
After voting in favor of the hotly-debated budget compromise last week, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins from Kansas' 2nd district issued a statement saying the bill offered the only way forward for a proposed $404 million for NBAF.
“Passing a budget agreement will have a direct impact on funding for NBAF, period, and to deny that is misleading to Kansans," Jenkins said. "The only way to receive anything close to $404 million is to go through the regular appropriations process, and you absolutely cannot do that without this budget agreement.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp represents Kansas' 1st district in the central and western part of the state, which now includes the site of the lab on the Kansas State University Campus. The area was appropriated from Jenkins’ 2nd district in a recent redistricting.
“Recent statements and news reports claiming the Ryan/Murry budget deal included funding for NBAF are completely inaccurate," Huelskamp said in a release. "This deal did not include any appropriations."
In the wake of the challenge, Rep. Jenkins' office released a deafening rebuttal that included supporting statements from other House Republicans.
Speaker of the House John Boehner's office weighed in ;“The Ryan-Murry (House) Budget agreement gives us the opportunity to fight for the House-passed NBAF funding level of $404 million. Failing to pass it would more than likely result in continuing the current inadequate funding level,” Speaker of the House John Boehner is quoted as saying.
Both U.S. Senators from Kansas, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, have been strong supporters of NBAF, but expressed skepticism about the House bill. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday.