President Donald Trump signed into law on Tuesday the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes protections for a laboratory at Fort Detrick that his administration had slated to close.
The act supports $692 billion in defense spending.
Through amendments championed by Maryland lawmakers, the bill will require a joint report from the departments of Homeland Security and Defense by March 1, 2018, on the functions of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), detailing the cost and impact if the facility is closed. The bill prevents any funds from being used to close or transfer the NBACC facility until the heads of the federal agencies that use the laboratory certify to Congress that doing so would not have a negative effect on the nation’s biological defense capabilities.
Congress must now pass defense appropriations legislation to complement the NDAA. Amendments to support the laboratory have also been proposed as part of the pending budget.