Frederick News-Post: House Approves Delaney Amendment That Could Put the Brakes on NBACC Closing
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a national defense bill on Friday that includes a massive military spending increase — and a little nugget for Frederick.
While controversial amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have addressed transgender troops and climate policy failed, an amendment from Rep. John Delaney, D-6th, was added to the bill Friday to maintain funding for a Fort Detrick laboratory.
The bill was then passed by the chamber, 344-81.
Delaney’s amendment was added to the National Defense Authorization Act during floor debate on Friday morning. It indirectly protects funding for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), which had been slated to close by President Donald Trump’s administration.
The amendment prohibits any funds being used to close or transfer any biosafety level 4 laboratory, including NBACC, until the heads of the federal agencies that use the laboratory jointly certify to Congress that the closing or transfer would not have a negative effect on the nation’s biological defense capabilities.
The FBI is the primary user of the National Bioforensic Analysis Center, which is half of the NBACC facility at Fort Detrick. The bureau said in the spring that about 14,000 pieces of evidence in bioterror investigations have been processed by the lab since 2004.
Delaney said that his amendment puts the brakes on closing NBACC.