Senators Cardin, Van Hollen Visit Ft. Detrick’s USAMRIID

Funding has been withheld for that facility.


Frederick, Md (KM)  Maryland’s two U.S. Senators took a tour of a Fort Detrick facility last week, despite some uncertainty about its funding. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen visited the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, and that included the infectious disease lab and a sterilization facility.

The U.S Department of Defense has withheld $104-million in funding for USAMRIID and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Command Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County. No reason has been given, according to the two Senators.

Senator Cardin says this funding is important for USAMRIID to carry out its mission, in light of the coronavirus “And are able to make sure that that critical mission can continue and the ability to surge when you have an infectious disease problem such as we’re now confronting with the coronavirus” he says. “We want to make sure that the capacity is here  in this country to deal with any contingency.”

Senators Cardin and Van Hollen, along with Representatives David Trone, Jaime Raskin, Anthony Brown and Dutch Ruppersberger, have written a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to find out what happened to the funding, and when it will be restored. So far, no reply from the Secretary.


Senator Cardin says he’s also voted last week to convict President Trump of the two articles of impeachment, charging the Chief Executive with abuse of power and contempt of Congress. “I don’t think we can allow a president to solicit help from another country to get involved in our elections, particularly to benefit the president and then use the power of his office,including the withholding of funds, to get that foreign leader to act,” says Cardin.

The House of Representatives in December voted to impeach President Trump, charging him with abuse of power and contempt of Congress. The Senate held a trial, and Trump was acquitted last week..

Cardin says the Senate should have called witnesses in the impeachment trial, and allowed for the introduction of documents. “There might be people who disagree, and that’s part of our system. I just think the Senate didn’t carry out its Constitutional responsibility when it denied the ability to call witnesses, look at documents,” he says.

“There’s never been an impeachment trial in the history of America that didn’t allow the House managers to present the evidence,” Senator Cardin says.

Trump is the third President to be impeached. President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, and President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998. Both, like Trump, were acquitted. The House Judiciary Committee voted on articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon in 1974, but Nixon resigned before the full House took them up.


By Kevin McManus