Senate HELP Committee Members Release Bipartisan Discussion Draft to Combat Bioterrorism and Pandemics

Posted on April 26, 2018

U.S. Senators

Richard Burr, Bob Casey, Lamar Alexander, Patty Murray

North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

 

Senate HELP Committee Members Release Bipartisan Discussion Draft to Combat Bioterrorism and Pandemics

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

      CONTACT:

Ben Khouri (Burr) 202-228-1616

Jacklin Rhoads (Casey) 202-228-6367

Taylor Haulsee (Alexander) 202-224-8816

Helen Hare (Murray) 202-224-5398

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Burr, Casey, Alexander, and Murray released a bipartisan discussion draft to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), making targeted improvements to the tools at our nation’s disposal to prepare for and respond to the threats that we face, whether naturally occurring like pandemic flu, or as a result of a deliberate attack on our country.

PAHPA was enacted in 2006 and reauthorized in 2013 to establish and build upon an all-hazards framework for responses to public health threats that may result in a public health emergency. Ebola, Zika, and a destructive hurricane season have all made clear that these threats are constantly evolving, requiring further work to protect our communities. The draft Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPAI) focuses on improvements to programs within the PAHPA framework to address these 21st century threats. 

“We must be vigilant in our efforts to prepare for and respond to the very real threats our nation faces,” said Senator Burr. “Fostering and leveraging innovative technologies to improve our preparedness and response capabilities will encourage a nimble and flexible response to new and changing public health threats affecting our national security. These policies will improve existing tools and encourage new technologies to better protect the American people.  I look forward to feedback on this draft.” 

“Our nation faces increasingly complex threats from a range of naturally-occurring and manmade threats to public health,” said Senator Casey. “We must continue our efforts to strengthen core public health preparedness capabilities to ensure that our communities are able to respond to any public health threat that arises, and ensure that we are investing in the countermeasures and products we need to protect people in a public health emergency. I look forward to hearing back from interested stakeholders with their comments.”

“After a deadly hurricane season, Americans want to know we are better prepared to face public health threats – whether that’s natural disasters, flu outbreaks, or bioterror attacks,” said Senator Alexander. “This bipartisan proposal, led by Senators Burr and Casey, takes the next step toward ensuring we are able to protect Americans from 21st century threats by strengthening our capabilities to be prepared for and able to respond to the full range of public health threats.”

“Protecting our families against the health threats of tomorrow means taking steps to be prepared today, which is why this legislation is so important,” said Senator Murray. “I’m glad we could put together a bipartisan bill that reinforces our vigilance against emerging disease outbreaks, pandemics, and other threats—including by bolstering critical work to combat antimicrobial resistance, and  focusing on the diverse needs of everyone jeopardized by a public health threat. I will keep working with my colleagues to build on this discussion draft and get this bill signed into law, to make sure we are always preparing for crises with foresight rather than simply learning from tragedies in hindsight.”

The PAHPAI discussion draft can be found here.

Comments are due by May 4, 2018, to PAHPA2018@help.senate.gov

A Section by Section is available here.

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