February 9, 2006- Reaction to Administration's Proposed Elimination of Vital Program to Respond to WMD Attack

“The Bush Administration has once again unwisely proposed the elimination of the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS), a unique federal program that is urgently needed, particularly given the potential for an outbreak of avian flu or terrorist attack using a weapon of mass destruction in our country.  Established in the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, MMRS is the only federal program that helps first responders, emergency workers, medical personnel and other stakeholders develop plans to minimize casualties in the event of a dirty bomb attack or a public health emergency.  In the State of the Union Address, the President said that our country was “addicted to oil.”  As Katrina painfully demonstrated, our nation is not addicted to preparedness, nor is there any need to “kick the preparedness habit.”  When the Administration proposed the elimination of MMRS last year, I was proud to stand with first responders from around the nation and with many of my colleagues in Congress in reversing this misguided decision and ensuring the funding of this vital program.  One of the lessons of the past year was the need to be prepared for disasters, whether they are natural of man-made.  I will once again work to preserve this important preparedness program.”