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Highlights

In 1999, the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began funding jurisdictions' efforts to prepare for bioterrorism attacks through the Public Health Preparedness and Response for Bioterrorism program. After the events of September 11, 2001, and the 2001 anthrax incidents, program funds increased almost twentyfold. Citing jurisdictions' unexpended program funds, HHS reallocated some fiscal year 2004 funds to support other local and national bioterrorism initiatives. Jurisdictions and associations representing jurisdictions disputed HHS's assertion that large amounts of funds remain unused, noting that HHS did not acknowledge obligated funds that had not yet been expended. GAO was asked to provide information on (1) the extent to which jurisdictions had expended the fiscal year 2002 funds awarded for the program's third budget period as of August 30, 2003, and August 31, 2004, and the fiscal year 2003 funds awarded for the program's fourth budget period, as of August 30, 2004; (2) the extent to which fiscal year 2001, 2002, and 2003 funds awarded for the third and fourth budget periods remained unobligated as of August 30, 2004; and (3) factors jurisdictions identified as contributing to delays in expending and obligating funds and actions some jurisdictions took to address them.

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