Archive for Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NBAF at center of budget fight between Obama and House Republicans

June 4, 2013


A project near and dear to the hearts of elected Kansas officials is in the middle of the epic budget fight between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans.

The White House on Monday threatened to veto H.R. 2217, which makes appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Contained in that bill is $404 million for the $1.15 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF. The lab, which will be devoted to protection of the nation's food supply, is to be built at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Obama has said NBAF is a critical asset and top priority, but the White House is making the veto threat because it says it wants the specific appropriations bill to be part of the larger discussion about the overall budget.

The administration released a statement that says, "Unless this bill passes the Congress in the context of an overall budget framework that supports our recovery and enables sufficient investments in education, infrastructure, innovation and national security for our economy to compete in the future, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto H.R. 2217 and any other legislation that implements the House Republican Budget framework."

Roll Call reported that the veto threat was a broad warning to Republicans against trying to leverage more spending cuts from the administration in the next battle over raising the debt limit early this fall.

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., told Roll Call he viewed the White House statement as an empty threat.

While Kansas' all-Republican congressional delegation opposes Obama on nearly everything, they applauded his earlier budget recommendation to fully fund NBAF in the next fiscal year.

In fact, the White House statement also criticizes the bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee because it would only partial fund NBAF.

"The partial funding provided in the bill will delay construction of NBAF, increase project costs, and leave a significant vulnerability unaddressed. Long-standing procurement policy prohibits incremental funding because it undermines program stability and runs counter to sound budgeting principles and fiscal discipline," the statement says.

Obama had included $714 million in his proposed budget to complete construction of the lab. The Kansas Legislature just approved $202 million in bonding authority, on top of an earlier approval of $105 million in bonds and $35 million from the Kansas Bioscience Authority, to complete the project.

Last week, top state leaders gathered in Manhattan to formally break ground on the facility's central utility plant, which will provide a self-contained power supply to the lab.

Kansas was awarded NBAF in 2009 but the project has been delayed over safety and security concerns. Supporters of the project say additional security measures make the facility safe.


consumer1 4 years, 10 months ago

"the White House is making the veto threat because it says it wants the specific appropriations bill to be part of the larger discussion about the overall budget." This sounds like extortion.

GUMnNUTS 4 years, 10 months ago

If it was a republican president it would just be hard line negotiating instead of extortion.

Keith 4 years, 10 months ago

"This sounds like extortion."

Then you need to get your hearing checked.

Nonsense 4 years, 10 months ago

As much as I think this would be good for the state, I think Obama should can it. After all how many times has the Governor and our Congressmen and Congresswoman told him to stay out of our state. I think he should do just that, stay out of our state just like they asked. Afterall isn't it a LITTLE hypocritical to ask for money from the man you say spends too much? (takes tongue out of cheek....) We (Kansas) get what we deserve.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 10 months ago

It will be interesting to hear the response from the Kansas delegation. My guess is that they will take the position that federal largesse for their state is money well spent, just like farm subsidies.

Anthony Mall 4 years, 10 months ago

Why would he support this after just protecting Monsanto? How liberals support this administration is beyond me! He appoints the AG to investigate himself, buys 600 million in tanks for Afghanistan, has his SOS blatantly lie to senate oversight committees, executive order to give himself a raise, and that's just the last 3 months!

Patricia Davis 4 years, 10 months ago

Can you say, "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction?"

Anthony Mall 4 years, 10 months ago

Benghazi, smuggling 1000's of weapons to drug cartels, and did i say attacking the wealthy while giving hinself a raise while govt employees are on furlough? Just checking...

oldexbeat 4 years, 10 months ago

You are wrong about the "executive order to give himself a raise" a false story spread by a fictional newspaper and believed by the ignorant.

Again, what -- kenyan muslim socialist president born on the Moon. Right? Spread that part. Fool.

Anthony Mall 4 years, 10 months ago

Fool? Please review Huff post December 2012... "Obama gives a raise to congress and Biden" I believe he gave one to himself as well... I would post the link but i guess i am too much of a "fool".

Bob_Keeshan 4 years, 10 months ago

The legislature just appropriated $15 million a year in your state tax dollars to pay for this, money that apparently isn't needed by, for example, higher education.

You would think they'd be raising a stink as well. That Kansas money could certainly be better spent elsewhere.

james bush 4 years, 10 months ago

Money would be better used for independent investigations of Obama administration's scandals; ie, links to IRS improprieties, Benghazi cover-up, AG Holder's transgressions, and Obama's propensity for ignorance of his agents' wrong doing.

Garton 4 years, 10 months ago

We need to ask any final questions about NBAF before gates are permanently locked. A Department of Homeland Security report from early 2012 stated: $30 million annual payroll for NBAF $125 million annual operating budget $3.6 billion economic impact in the first 20 years

Actually it will cost the federal government $4.2 billion during the first 20 years- just for payroll and operations. The $3.6 billion economic impact cannot be attributed to entrepreneurial acumen; the federal funding for NBAF will be a wellspring for the 50 year life of the facility-roughly $18 billion in Kansas Bio-Welfare. Keeping Kansas safe with germ warfare?

It is curious that the huge facility will only have 1/10th of the total space dedicated to NBAF and the study of Foot and Mouth Disease and the breakdown of the jobs show only 151 jobs in “Scientific Staff and Support” and the remaining 175 jobs in “Operations, Maintenance and Security”. The 326 total jobs will hold steady for the duration, according to DHS. Having but 150 researchers in a 580,000 square foot facility (same as twelve football fields) and costing $1.2 billion to construct and $18 billion to operate? Now, that's good planning...To study what? Cow diseases?

Then there is the heated debate over the possibility of human error with deadly germs. The stalemate was “settled” by the DHS official website stating “Questions raised in the report focus on the assumptions used to capture the uncertainties of risk". The problem is that the National Research Council reported only on the security of the building structure (design) itself, not on human error in the day- to- day operation of NBAF. The anthrax killer was not a cow at Ft. Detrick, but a lab researcher with low T. If we're going to have human error and pathogen release, take it to the desert, not in the middle of a university. How about we start with the security of Kansas? How about some math classes for legislators?

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 10 months ago

Moore tornado a warning not to build NBAF in Kansas?

The long-awaited groundbreaking occurred last week in Manhattan for the first phase of the $1.2 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which will be a big win for the state and national security. But a commentary in the San Antonio Express-News warned about the “folly of building a federal research lab handling the most dangerous pathogens on Earth in the heart of Tornado Alley,” calling the choice of Manhattan a case of “politics trumping safety.” John Kerr, who had chaired the effort to try to lure the lab to San Antonio, concluded:

“Proponents of the Kansas site blandly insist that the NBAF has been redesigned to withstand a tornado. The images of destruction from Oklahoma suggest that unless the entire 500,000-square-foot facility is built underground, at a cost running into the billions, it could not withstand even an EF-3 tornado. Building it in Kansas is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with Mother Nature.” When such concerns were raised in 2009, Kansans noted the Texas county vying for NBAF historically registered more tornadoes than Kansas’ Riley County and that Texas led the nation in tornadoes and came in second for hurricanes.

Read more here:

blindrabbit 4 years, 10 months ago

The Obama Administration should "veto" any NBAF approval until the GOP Senate get's off of their backsides and confirms the backlog of appointments to the Federal Bench and various other holdups. It is apparent that this unprecedented logjam is the work of that smiley/slimy Senator from Olde Kentucky Mitch McConnell. It would be interesting to see how much real clout Pat Roberts has in moving his pet project along if he was to face this possibility.

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