Brooks Leads Public Health Preparedness Efforts
WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine the Reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), legislation Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) is leading in the House of Representatives with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA18).
To watch Brooks’ remarks from the hearing, click here.
“It is not a question of if we will face a threat – it is a question of when,” said Brooks. “The threat of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident continues to grow and everyday our adversaries are looking for more effective and faster ways to produce a threat. We also face threats from naturally occurring outbreaks such as influenza, Ebola and Zika, and from natural disasters like hurricanes. In addition, cyber-attacks, such as the WannaCry attack, illustrate the vulnerability of our public health system.”
“Reauthorizing PAHPA is an important public health issue,” continued Brooks. “It establishes a new ‘Public Health Emergency Response Fund’ that works to prevent, prepare or respond to public health crises, as well as develop medical countermeasures for such events. It ensures our federal repository of vaccines, antibiotics, medications and other medical supplies located in warehouses across the country are readily available to save American lives in the event an attack or pandemic occurs. Additionally, reauthorization of this bill supports partnerships for state and regional hospital preparedness so that our medical personnel are trained and equipped to provide patients with the necessary treatments at surge capacity.”
“With this bill, we all have a unique opportunity to examine our response to threats, and ensure that as we look towards the future, we have the procedures, resources and support in place to protect our country and all who live in it,” concluded Brooks. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure our country can adequately prepare to efficiently and effectively combat public health emergencies.”
To watch Brooks’ line of questioning to the panelists, including Dr. Robert Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, click here.
Brooks recently joined Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to participate in a mock-pandemic response exercise. The overall goal of the exercise was to raise awareness and show how United States presidential advisors would handle policy decisions for an unfolding mock pandemic crisis. To read more about this exercise, click here.
Brooks and Eshoo also established the Congressional Biodefense Caucus this Congress. The Caucus serves as a platform to educate Members of Congress and their staff on the very real threats our nation faces from a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack or pandemic outbreak. It also aims to identify the existing gaps in our preparedness and response capabilities.
For more information on today’s hearing, including draft text of the legislation, a hearing memo and witness testimony, click here.