Funding for Fighting Bioterrorism by 319%
University of Pittsburgh
February 5, 2002
1:55 P.M. EST
Thank you very much. Thanks for that warm welcome. It's great to be back in
Pittsburgh. Never did I think I'd come back and say, America is under attack.
Never did I dream I'd come back to this beautiful city and say, we've got to
be on alert. But here I am and that's what I'm saying.
I walk into the Oval Office every morning. And, by the way, walking into the
Oval Office is a fabulous experience. (Laughter.) It's -- I can't tell you what
an honor it is. It is -- it's great. It is a beautiful office. I get there early
in the morning. Spot, the dog, goes with me. (Laughter.) I don't let Barney
go. Got a brand new rug, so he doesn't get to go. (Laughter.)
But I sit at this magnificent desk. It's a desk that was used by President Roosevelt
and President Kennedy and President Reagan. And I read threats to the United
States of America. Every morning, I'm reminded that my most important job is
to make our country secure; is to protect the homeland of the United States
of America. And that's what I want to talk to you all about today -- how best
to protect the homeland.
The best way to start to do so is to pick a good general, somebody who knows
how to organize, somebody who's tough, somebody who's smart, and somebody who
can articulate the issues we face. And I found a good one right here in Pennsylvania
in your former governor. (Applause.)
I've also got a great team, a wonderful team of Americans who are there to serve
something greater than their own self-interests. Not only do I have a great
foreign policy team, I've got a wonderful domestic policy team. And one of the
key members of that team is a former governor, friend of mine, who is doing
a fabulous job, and that's Tommy Thompson of Health and Human Services. (Applause.)
I'm sorry your current governor couldn't be here, but he's giving his budget
address. I completely understand why he's not here. But I also want to thank
him publicly for his work in coordinating the anti-terrorist activities of the
state of Pennsylvania -- the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania -- with the federal
government. He's doing a fine job, and you need to be proud of his efforts and
his desire to make Pennsylvania as safe a place as possible. (Applause.)
I also want to thank two members of the United States Congress who are here,
one Democrat, Mike Doyle; one Republican, Melissa Hart. The reason I bring them
up with their party affiliations is there is no difference, as far as I can
tell, in Washington, D.C. about love for country. You don't have to be a Republican
to love the country, or a Democrat to love the country; we all love our country.
And one of the healthy things that I think is beginning to happen in Washington,
D.C. is we're beginning to recognize that it's time to put aside partisan differences
and focus on what's best for America and do what's right for our citizens. (Applause.)
So I want to welcome you both here. Thank you.
I also want to thank those who have briefed us on some of the innovative work
that is going on here at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as with Carnegie
Mellon -- Mike Wagner and Andrew Moore. They gave us a fascinating program I'm
going to explain briefly in a second. I appreciate D.A. Henderson, the Director
of the Office of Public Health Preparedness, who has traveled from Washington
with us. D.A., where are you? Thank you for coming, D.A.
D.A.'s got a big job. His job is to take some of the interesting things that
have been developed in places such as Pittsburgh and make sure they're duplicated
around the country, make sure others go to school on what you've done at this
school, so that America is safe as it can possibly be.
I also want to welcome Tony Fauci here of the NIH. Tony, thank you for coming.
Tony does a fabulous job at the NIH. He represents a very important part of
the research and develop arm of the United States. We've significantly boosted
the NIH budget, not only to help fight the war against terror, but also to help
fight the war against disease. And I'm proud of the efforts of our NIH folks.
And thanks for coming, Tony. (Applause.)
I want to thank Mark Nordenberg for letting us come. It kind of strains the
resources when the President shows up. I fully understand. But thanks, Mark,
for letting us use your beautiful campus, and Jared Cohon, as well, from Carnegie
Mellon. Thank you for greeting us and briefing us today. And Arthur Levine,
I want to thank you, as well. You did a fine job of explaining what's going
on. And I look forward to kind of sharing some of that with the American people.
Homeland defense takes many forms. One, of course, is to secure our borders,
to make sure we understand who's coming in and out of our country. Part of making
sure America's safe is to have as good information as possible about what takes
place in our ports of entry. That's why I spent a little time in Maine the other
day, talking about how we're going to boost the presence of the Coast Guard,
for example, to make sure our border and our homeland is as secure as possible.
Part of having a secure homeland is to have a good airport system, that's safe
for people to travel; an airport system that is inspecting bags by inspectors
who are qualified to inspect bags. Part of a homeland defense is to have good
intelligence sharing between the federal, the state and the local level. Part
of homeland security is to have a first responders mechanism that's modern and
current. And part of homeland security is to be prepared to fight any kind of
war against bio-terror.
And that's what I want to spend some time talking about today. Some of us remember
that back in the '50s we had what was called the DEW line on the Arctic Circle,
to warn us if enemy bombers were coming over the North Pole to attack America.
Well, here in Pittsburgh, I had the honor of seeing a demonstration of the modern
DEW line, a Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance system, developed right
here, which is one of the country's leading centers on monitoring biological
What we saw was how to take real -- data on a real-time basis to determine if
there was an outbreak of any kind, including a terrorist attack. The best way
to protect the homeland is to understand what's taking place on the homeland
so we can respond. And so the modern-day DEW line to me was fascinating. And
I appreciate those who have worked so hard to come up with an incredibly useful
tool for America, a useful tool to protect ourselves.
I also appreciate the fact that the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon
Institute launched what's called a biomedical security institute to help protect
the nation in all ways from the insidious biological attack.
You know, I've come to realize -- having spent some time in Pittsburgh and particularly
hearing the briefings today, that while Pittsburgh used to be called "Steel
Town," you need to call it "Knowledge Town." (Applause.) There's
a lot of smart people in this town. And I'm proud to report to my fellow citizens,
they're working in a way to make America safe. A lot of money, obviously, comes
from the state government for that. We are grateful. But the federal government
has a role to play, as well.
I'm proud to say the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services all provide financial
support to the Biomedical Security Institute. But, as you can tell from reading
the papers and tell from my -- hopefully, if you listened to my State of the
Union address, I have made the homeland security a top budget priority and I
asked Congress to respond in a positive way to this request.
For example, we're asking for $1.6 billion. This is additional money for state
and local governments to help hospitals and others improve their ability to
cope with any bio-terror attack. One, it's important to be able to recognize
what's happening; and, secondly, we've got to respond, respond in a modern way,
a way that will help the American people survive any attack if it were to come.
I want to make sure that each region around the country has the proper equipment
and the right amount of medicine for the victims of any attack, should it occur.
We've got to upgrade our communications, not only between the federal government
and the state government, but between state governments and local communities,
and between counties and local jurisdictions. We've got to be able to talk to
each other better, so that there's real time communications, so that we can
share information in a crisis. Information-sharing will help save lives. And
so part of the money is to bring our systems up to speed, to make them more
modern and more responsive.
The budget also adds $2.4 billion to develop new test protocols and new treatments
for bio-terror weapons. We were able to save lives during the anthrax outbreak,
but some infections were identified too late, and some people were too badly
infected to save. We must do everything in our power, everything to protect
our fellow Americans. We need better testing, better vaccines, and better drugs
if America is going to be as safe as it can possibly be.
And there's some hopeful news. Scientists tell us that research we do to fight
bioterrorism is likely to deliver great new advances in the treatment of many
other diseases, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria and HIV/AIDS. The monies
we spend to protect America today are likely to yield long-term benefits, are
likely to provide some incredible cures to diseases that many years ago never
thought would be cured. It's an investment that will pay off not only for better
security, but for better health. And I ask Congress to support me on spending
We're also going to expand our nation's stockpile of antibiotics and vaccines.
We're going to have more of these important antibiotics and vaccines readily
available. By the end of the current fiscal year, we'll have enough antibiotics
on hand to treat up to 20 million people for anthrax, plague and other bio-terrorist
diseases. We're preparing for the worst.
We'll provide funds to states to make sure they can distribute medicines swiftly.
And we're also going to expand our bio-terror intelligence service. During the
Korean War, we created what was called an Epidemic Intelligence Service to help
defend America if any of our Cold War enemies tried to use bio-weapons against
us. Now we need to adapt the EIS to a new era and to a new mission. We'll make
the commitment to expand and modernize the service, and to work with scientists
in this country and friendly nations around the world.
All in all, my budget will commit almost $6 billion to defend ourselves against
bioterrorism -- as Tom mentioned, an increase of over 300 percent. It's money
that we've got to spend. It's money that will have good impact on the country.
It's money that will enable me to say that we're doing everything we can to
protect America at home.
But I want to remind you all, the surest way to protect America at home is to
find the enemy where it hides and bring them to justice. The surest way to protect
America is to unleash the mighty arm of our United States military, and find
the killers, wherever they hide, and rout them out, and bring them to justice.
History has called us into action, here at home and internationally. We've been
given a chance to lead, and we're going to seize the moment in this country.
As we've mentioned more than once, what we do here at home is going to have
lasting impact for a long time. And I want to tell you what we're doing abroad
is going to have lasting impact, as well.
I view this as an opportunity to secure the peace for a long time coming. I
view this as a struggle of tyranny versus freedom, of evil versus good. And
there's no in between, as far as I'm concerned. Either you're with us, or you're
against us. Either you stand for a peaceful world for our children and our grandchildren,
either you're willing to defend freedom to its core, or you're going to be against
the mighty United States of America.
I truly believe that by leading the world, by rallying a vast coalition, by
holding people accountable for murderous deeds, the world will be a more peaceful
place for our children and our grandchildren. (Applause.)
And I'm proud to report this country understands what I just said. We are patient;
we're deliberate. Oh, I know the news media likes to say, where's Osama bin
Laden? He's not the issue. The issue is international terror. I like our chances
against bin Laden, however. (Laughter.) There's no cave deep enough for him
to hide. He can run, and he thinks he can hide, but we're not going to give
up until he and every other potential killer, and every other body who hates
freedom will be brought to justice.
You know, the enemy hit us, and they said, oh, this great country is going to
wilt. They're not great, they're weak. I like to needle them by saying, they
must have been watching too much daytime TV. (Laughter.) They got the wrong
impression of America, because quite the opposite is happening. We're unified;
we're focused; we are deliberate; we're patient. We're certain of our values,
and sure of the need to defend freedom. And for that, the enemy is going to
pay a serious price.
You know, I'm asked all the time here at home, what can I do to help. Well,
when I look out and see the docs, every day you show up for work, you're helping,
by helping develop some antibiotic, or perhaps helping some poor person who
can't afford health care.
The reason I bring that up is because I think the way to fight off evil is to
do some acts of goodness. See, the great strength of the country is the hearts
and souls of our fellow Americans. And the best way to declare our position,
the best way to make our position known to the world, is through what I like
to call the gathering momentum of millions of acts of kindness and compassion
and decency; acts of compassion and decency which take place on a daily basis,
in all kinds of ways.
People say, how can I help? Well, just walk across the street and tell a shut-in
you love her, and what can you do to visit to make her day complete? Or how
about mentoring a child in a school, and teaching that child how to read? Maybe
if you're interested in helping fight the war on terror you should become a
mentor to a child whose mother or dad may be in prison, so that child can have
somebody put their arm around them, and say, I love you. In America, it belongs
just as much to you, as it does to me.
Now, there's all kinds of ways to join this war against terror. And it starts
by Americans leading with their heart. There's no doubt in my mind we'll make
the right decisions here at home. There is no doubt in my mind that the United
States will prevail in the war of terror. And there's no doubt in my mind that
out of the incredible evil that was done, great goodness will come, and America
will be better off for it.