Bill has money for Kan. bio lab, but with a catch – Houston Chronicle

Congressional negotiators agreed Wednesday to allow the Homeland Security Department to spend federal money planning and designing a foot-and-mouth research lab in Kansas, but they want more study on its safety before allowing money to be used for its construction.

A Homeland Security Department spending bill approved by a House and Senate conference committee includes $32 million for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility planned for Manhattan, Kan. The negotiators also asked for studies to prove that the lab can operate safely and tied construction money to that request.

The House wanted to withhold all money until a third party studied the lab’s safety, while the Senate wanted to give Homeland Security the money and have it do the study. In a compromise, Wednesday’s move awards the money for planning but requires the additional study before any funds could be used for construction of the facility.

It was unclear how much of the money was available for planning and design. Homeland Security Department officials originally wanted $36 million to start work on the lab. Of that amount, $27 million was for planning.