In order to set spending priorities, the Department of Homeland Security has put together a list of possible terrorist attacks. However, DHS may want to brace itself for President Bush’s 2006 budget first. More than half of the potential scenarios involve some kind of biological attack, chemical attack, or disease outbreak. Yet, the administration’s proposed budget includes:
• Slashing health professions training by 64 percent, a cut that amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars, and the training of doctors for children’s hospitals by another 34 percent.
• Though medical experts realize that the National Institutes of Health needs a budget increase of “8 to 10 percent to capitalize on the progress being made in biomedical research,” for the third year in a row the Bush budget provides a “woefully inadequate” increase of less than 1 percent. At that rate, the NIH will not even be able “to continue existing grants.”
• Funding for the CDC’s state and local capacity bioterrorism grants is to be gutted by over $100 million. The grants help state and local agencies prepare for bioterror attacks by improving public health and medical infrastructure, so cuts directly undermine “the United States’ public health readiness if an attack were to occur.”