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Washington, D.C. – Before adjourning for the year Thursday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a major initiative designed to prevent and cope with possible bioterrorist attacks, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., a cosponsor of the measure.

Enzi said the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2001 , S. 1765, would authorize $3.2 billion in new funding to fight bioterrorism and is a comprehensive approach to improving the ability of the United States to prepare for and respond to a biological threat or attack.

The bill includes five titles that cover public health block grants, vaccine development and stockpiles, and new Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate food safety and detain suspect foods.

Enzi is one of four Republican senators representing the Senate on a conference committee assigned to work out the differences between Senate and House versions of the bioterrorism legislation.

The Senate also finished up its work on the yearly appropriations bills. One of the final bills to be approved funds the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. Contained in that bill was another $243 million to fight bioterrorism. Also this week, $2.5 billion was appropriated in emergency funding for this purpose.