Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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Strengthening Biodefense

As a nation, we are underprepared to address the next biological or pandemic threat to our country. I am focused on changing that. Specifically, I’ve introduced legislation to address our inability to mobilize quickly and effectively to identify, contain, treat and eliminate any kind of biological threat to people in the United States.

We know that terrorist organizations, including ISIS, are actively pursuing chemical and biological weapons, and that we remain vulnerable to naturally occurring epidemics and pandemics which pose a risk to national security and to public health. Right now, despite the steps taken during and after the Ebola epidemic, we remain largely reactionary in our response to pandemics and biological threats. DHS, the FBI, and the CIA, work to protect our nation from biodefense threats, but Congress has a pivotal role in strengthening our defense efforts. As a former U.S. Attorney, former chair of the Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee, and member of the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I am working in Congress to lead proactive efforts to protect and defend our country and its citizens from the threat of outbreak, epidemic or an act of biological terror in the United States.

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense released a report in 2015 that found that our national biodefense strategy and efforts need significant improvement. I have been leading efforts in Congress to act on the 33 recommendations presented in the Panel’s final report. To put some of these recommendations into practice, I introduced H.R. 3299, the Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response Act, with Rep. Anna Eschoo (D-CA) to improve U.S. biodefense efforts and incentivize the development of vaccines for dangerous and deadly pathogens as identified by the Department of Homeland Security. This bill was signed into law as part of  the 21st Century Cures Act. I look forward to continuing work to prepare for and to protect our country from biological threats.

Additionally, I co-sponsored H.R. 4400 with Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), legislation that added Zika virus to the FDA Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program and incentivized the development and distribution of a vaccine for the Zika virus. The Zika virus, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and can be transmitted sexually, can infect pregnant women and result in birth defects, including microcephaly and neurological disorders in newborns. Companion legislation to H.R. 4400, S. 2512, was signed into law in 2016. 

To read an op-ed I wrote about why strengthening our national biodefense is so important to our security and to public health, click here.

To read an op-ed I wrote about how 21st Century Cures will help people get the treatment and care they need, click here. For more information on the 21st Century Cures act, click here

More on Strengthening Biodefense

May 21, 2018 In The News

The lack of both a protective vaccine and a proactive worldwide plan for tackling the spread of a catastrophic global pandemic resulted in the death of 150 million people across Earth during the recent Clade X simulation exercise hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

May 11, 2018 In The News

The upcoming Clade X exercise hosted by the Center for Health Security, which is part of the Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will show the world how United States presidential advisors would handle policy decisions for an unfolding mock pandemic crisis.

Apr 16, 2018 In The News

In a new nationwide survey released by the Alliance for Biosecurity on Monday, 73 percent of the 1,612 Americans polled said they would support a congressional decision to increase funding to address biosecurity needs and capabilities.

Mar 5, 2018 In The News

A new Congressional Biodefense Caucus was launched last Monday. The caucus said it already has a bipartisan membership roll which includes twenty-seven Members of Congress. The caucus is “dedicated to strengthening our nation’s biodefense enterprise and national security.”

A new Congressional Biodefense Caucus was launched last Monday. The caucus said it already has a bipartisan membership roll which includes twenty-seven Members of Congress.

The caucus is chaired by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Indiana) and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-California).

Mar 2, 2018 In The News

U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) this week maintained her laser focus on improving the preparedness of the United States to respond to a pandemic or chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats via formation of the new bipartisan Congressional Biodefense Caucus.

Rep. Brooks and U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) will serve as co-chairs of the caucus, which launched during a Feb. 26 reception held in Washington, D.C., that included more than 50 attendees from Congress and the biodefense industry.

Feb 13, 2018 News Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – The President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal shifts the Strategic National Stockpile from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) provided the following statement:

Oct 31, 2017 In The News

Homeland security and citizens’ safety is the top role of the federal government, says U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), an advocate for providing individuals and agencies with whatever tools are needed to successfully do their jobs.

Currently serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and as a member of the Communications and Technology, the Health and the Oversight and Investigations subcommittees, some of the issues Brooks is working on include efforts to strengthen the nation’s biodefense position.

May 24, 2017 In The News

The United States appears ill-prepared to deal with a Zika virus outbreak although the nation’s federal public health agencies have learned valuable information during the last few years about the disease, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) says in a new report released on Tuesday to coincide with a related House subcommittee hearing.

Jul 14, 2016 News Releases

WASHINGTON— Last night, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 3299, a bill introduced by Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to incentivize investment in vaccines and treatments for dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens identified as threats to our national security by the Department of Homeland Security. Effective vaccines and treatments for these kinds of biological threats will enhance our Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

May 19, 2016 News Releases

WASHINGTON— Today, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee examined H.R. 3299, a bill introduced by Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to streamline decision-making procedures and to incentivize investment in vaccines and treatments for dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens. Effective vaccines and treatments for these kinds of biological threats will enhance our Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).