PASSES HOUSE: Brooks, Eshoo Legislation to Combat Biodefense Threats
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass a bill introduced by Congresswomen Susan Brooks (R-IN05) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA18) along with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR02) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ06), H.R.6378, the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018 (PAHPA).
“It has been 17 years since anthrax attacks infected more than 17 people and ended five people’s lives,” said Brooks. “Since then, the threat of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear incident has not dissipated, but instead continues to grow. Everyday our adversaries are looking for more effective and faster ways to produce a threat. I am proud this comprehensive bill ensures our health care professionals are trained to respond to possible pandemic outbreaks, prioritizes the further development of our national stockpile of vaccines, medical equipment and diagnostics, and establishes new advisory groups focused on protecting vulnerable populations such as senior citizens and people with disabilities during public health threats and emergencies. It reflects extensive feedback from the full range of medical and public health preparedness and response stakeholders in order to best examine our response as a nation to threats, and to ensure that moving forward, we have clear procedures, resources and support in place to keep Americans safe. PAHPA was first signed into law in 2006, and I am proud to lead this critically important reauthorization legislation.”
“The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act that the House overwhelmingly passed today is critical to our national security,” said Eshoo. “The legislation updates the original PAHPA by directing federal agencies to respond to new and emerging threats to strengthen our nation’s existing preparedness and response programs. The reauthorization meets the challenges of today and the future. I applaud today’s passage in the House and I look forward to the Senate swiftly considering PAHPA so that it can be signed into law before September 30th.”
“Today, the House took an important step towards keeping our families safe in the worst-case scenarios of a dangerous disease outbreak or bioterrorism attack,” said Walden. “I asked Rep. Brooks to lead this effort for the Committee. By working across the aisle, Rep. Brooks advanced vital improvements to our federal framework for emergency preparedness and made important and potentially life-savings reforms to modernize our readiness, enhance federal authorities, and improve information sharing.”
“I commend Reps. Brooks and Eshoo for their bipartisan leadership to reauthorize PAHPA,” said Pallone. “This vitally important public health bill will support public health departments and their workforce as well as the development of new treatments and the stockpiling of supplies that will be deployed to communities nationwide in the case of an emergency. Our national preparedness and response capabilities will be better prepared to respond to public health threats thanks to the passage of PAHPA.”
H.R.6378, the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018 (PAHPA) is a bipartisan effort to ensure our nation is prepared to respond to public health emergencies resulting from chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks from other nations, natural disasters or emerging infectious diseases.
In addition, PAHPA:
- Ensures we have a robust supply of vaccines, basic equipment like gloves, hazmat suits, masks and more in our Strategic National Stockpiles located all across the country.
- Strengthens the Public Health Emergency Response Fund for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use as a bridge when we face an outbreak like Ebola or the deadly Nipah virus so that immediate funding is available that Congress can then supplement with an emergency appropriations bill.
- Provides funding for pandemic influenza research as well as research into emerging infectious disease like Ebola and Zika. The funding will ensure research funding is dedicated to these known threats.
- Creates new advisory committees to ensure the specific needs of the elderly and people with disabilities are considered, and reauthorizes the advisory committee focused on the specific needs of children so that our nation’s most vulnerable communities are cared for and protected in the wake of public health emergencies and natural disasters.
- Builds on Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority (BARDA)’s nimble and flexible framework and maintains the flexibility that is the foundation of our medical countermeasure enterprise to deal with unknown threats for which we may have no defense today.
- Reauthorizes funding to improve bioterrorism and other public health emergency preparedness and response activities such as the Hospital Preparedness Program, the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement, and Project BioShield.
- Codifies the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise and the duties of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), while maintaining the important role of the Centers for Disease Control in emergency and response activities.
For a section-by-section summary of the legislation, click here.
To read the text of the legislation, click here.