A dispute over the federal budget may hinder Kansas’s plans to issue $307 million of state bonds as its match for the proposed $1.2 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility at the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, Kan.
The Kansas Legislature approved a bill this session to increase by $202 million the state’s contribution from the $105 million of bonds authorized in 2010. However, the bonds will not be issued until the federal portion of the project is assured.
President Obama has threatened to veto House Resolution 2217, which funds the Department of Homeland Security in fiscal 2014. The measure has been approved by a House budget committee, but a request totaling $714 million for the laboratory was reduced to $404 million.
The proposed facility will be overseen by DHS. Research will focus on animal diseases that could affect the nation’s food supply or that could be altered to infect humans.
Lawmakers said the lower figure was sufficient to begin work on the project in 2014, but the White House said it was not enough.
“The partial funding provided in the bill will delay construction of NBAF, increase project costs, and leave a significant vulnerability unaddressed,” the White House said in a message last week.
“Long-standing procurement policy prohibits incremental funding because it undermines program stability and runs counter to sound budgeting principles and fiscal discipline,” the statement says.
The funding bill needs to be part of a larger discussion on the fiscal 2014 budget, the White House said.
“Unless this bill passes the Congress in the context of an overall budget framework that supports our recovery and enables sufficient investments in education, infrastructure, innovation and national security for our economy to compete in the future, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto HR 2217 and any other legislation that implements the House Republican Budget framework,” the statement said.
A ceremony at the site last week marked the beginning of construction on a central utility plant for the laboratory.