Biden would slash Pentagon money for pandemic prevention
“At a time when the pandemic is still threatening our allies and partners, we should be investing in, not cutting, a program whose primary purpose is to detect and minimize the spread of dangerous pathogens,” Langevin said. “If 2020 taught us anything, it is that we absolutely must confront these challenges before they become crises.”
GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York, another senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, criticized the proposed reduction in spending on the biological program as an example of what she called a shortchanging of the defense budget more broadly.
“The president’s budget is a gift to China and our adversaries around the world and unfortunately lacks adequate support for our military and critical programs like bio defense,” Stefanik said.
‘Early detection capability’
The U.S. military has been a leader in research and development of coronavirus vaccines and in disseminating them. And despite the proposed cut in the biological early-warning program, the Pentagon is still planning to spend $500 million in fiscal 2022 to continue to respond to COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics, officials have said.
COVID-19 is “the greatest proximate threat to our nation’s security,” said a Pentagon budget briefing slide presented to reporters May 28.