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.
More on Strengthening Biodefense
Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-Ind.-05) provided the following statement after the Trump Administration’s announcement of an executive order to modernize influenza vaccines:
U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) applauded the Sept. 19 executive order issued by the president to update influenza vaccines, which during the 2017–2018 flu season prevented roughly 7.1 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, and 109,000 hospitalizations, according to the White House.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) provided the below statement following the Administration’s announcement of an executive order to modernize influenza vaccines:
The bipartisan Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act, legislation aimed at protecting Americans from public health security threats and sponsored by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), became law on Monday with the president’s signature.
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) today applauds the enactment of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation (PAHPAI) Act, signed into law by President Trump late yesterday.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the President signed into law the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPA), authored by Reps. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA18), to strengthen the country’s existing preparedness and response programs. PAHPA ensures that our nation is better prepared to respond to a wide range of public health emergencies, whether man-made or occurring through a natural disaster or infectious disease.
Despite the availability of vaccines, the flu still kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. each year, and hundreds of thousands more worldwide. But public health officials fear that an even graver threat lies ahead: the emergence of a new, much more deadly flu virus. As William Brangham reports, the scenario has occurred before.
The U.S. House of Representatives on June 4 approved a bipartisan bill coauthored by U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) to better protect Americans before, during and after man-made or naturally occurring public health emergencies.
“The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act is critically important legislation that works to make our nation better prepared for and able to keep Americans safer in response to natural disasters or biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear threats to our public health and national security,” Rep. Brooks said.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation, the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPA), authored by Reps. Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA18) to strengthen the country’s existing preparedness and response programs. The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved the bipartisan Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing (PAHPA) Innovation Act of 2019, which now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature to make it law.