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HHS releases funds to prepare for bioterrorism

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson released federal funds totaling $48 million dollars to New York leaders Thursday to improve the city's and the state's readiness for a bioterrorist attack.

At a press conference at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan, Thompson presented New York Gov. George Pataki with a check for $27.1 million and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg with a check for $20.9 million. Thompson said the city and state had submitted "excellent, forward-looking plans" to react to a bioterrorist attack and the money will help execute those response plans.

Pataki said President Bush "has already far exceeded that total" of $20 billion dollars in aid he promised to the area in the early morning hours after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The ceremony was part of similar grant payments to other states, and the cities of Chicago and Los Angeles. The payments -- totaling $1.1 billion -- are part of a bioterrorism appropriations bill that Bush signed into law in January. Thompson described it as the largest one-time investment in the nation's public health system




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