President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal to Congress asks for funds to “develop countermeasures for diseases originating from large animals that can be transmitted to humans, " including $714 million for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas.
The news has already been interpreted by supporters as a green light for the $1.15-billion federal animal disease lab known as NBAF, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, in Manhattan, Kansas.
Senator Pat Roberts said the proposal represents the administration’s support for NBAF.
The Kansas Secretary of Agriculture says he’s moving most of state Agriculture Department to Manhattan. Secretary Dale Rodman says the agriculture in Kansas will benefit from being part of what he’s calling “the synergies” between Kansas State University and a burgeoning animal and plant science industry.
The move will allow the Kansas department to work more closely and avoid redundancies with bioscience research and commerce already going on in Manhattan.
A senior official from the President’s Office of Management and Budget told two Congressmen he would be mindful of their concerns regarding the cost and safety of the proposed National Bio and Ago-Defense Facility (NBAF) in considering how much to allocate for NBAF in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget.
OMB Deputy Director of Management Jeffrey Zients told Congressmen Tim Bishop and Joe Courtney that the administration was forced to evaluate the proposal for a new large-animal disease lab in the context of current budget constraints.
Kansas Senator Pat Roberts said in an interview Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security will announce on Thursday its plans to release funds to get the stalled National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility started.
The so-called NBAF has had difficulty getting off the ground. Senator Roberts chairs an NBAF steering committee and is the project's guiding light in Congress. The new funding is expected to enable the start of construction on a central electric plant -- a requirement for the billion dollar lab.
$90 million in federal funds are available for the NBAF.