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Chair Murray, Ranking Member Burr Announce the Beginning of Bipartisan Legislative Efforts to Improve Nation’s Public Health and Medical Preparedness and Response Programs

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released a Dear Colleague letter to announce the beginning of bipartisan discussions to consider how to better prepare the nation for future public health emergencies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senators announced they intend to work together to develop bipartisan legislation to consider lessons learned during the COVID-19 response, improving the nation’s public health infrastructure and medical preparedness and response programs and capabilities at the local, state, territorial, Tribal, and federal levels. Senators Murray and Burr plan to develop bipartisan, consensus policy proposals in the coming months, with the goal of moving a package through Committee in the fall.


Specifically, Senators Murray and Burr outlined their plan to work on a range of legislative proposals, including those regarding but not limited to:


  • Strategies for strengthening and modernizing federal public health and medical preparedness and response systems and programs, including infrastructure, to better support states, localities, and Tribes.
  • Ensuring sufficient public health and medical capacity to continue providing critical services to at-risk populations. This includes applying lessons learned from COVID-19 to address health disparities in future public health preparedness and response efforts.
  • Strengthening readiness within the medical countermeasure enterprise to ensure that countermeasures can be rapidly identified and advanced through clinical development and manufacturing and appropriately deployed and distributed when a new public health threat is identified.
  • Modernizing the development of medical countermeasures to address public health threats.
  • Improving and securing the supply chain for the U.S.’s critical medical supplies needed to swiftly address public health threats.


“As we work to end this pandemic, we must not forget the missteps that made it so much more painful for families, or fail to take action to be better prepared when the next crisis strikes. This pandemic has touched every corner of our country, so our work must consider a broad spectrum of voices—especially from communities that have been hit hardest because of deeply rooted inequities in our health care system but have too often been overlooked. I look forward to working with Ranking Member Burr and the rest of my colleagues on the HELP Committee in a bipartisan way to thoroughly learn the lessons of this pandemic and take steps to strengthen and sustain our public health and preparedness infrastructure to face future health threats,” said Chair Murray.


This pandemic isn’t over yet, but now is the time to take stock of the lessons learned over the last year and to begin preparing for the next potential threat. We need an honest accounting of the successes and shortcomings in our response to the novel coronavirus, so we can accurately fill the gaps in our public health architecture. The insights provided by those who have been on the frontlines of this fight, in both the private and public sector, are uniquely valuable in this process. I look forward to working with Chair Murray to craft effective, bipartisan solutions,” said Ranking Member Burr.


Chair Murray and Ranking Member Burr look forward to hearing from stakeholders regarding improving the nation’s public health infrastructure and ability to be prepared for the next public health threat. 


Separately, the Senators also recently called for input to inform bipartisan work on workforce issues. More information HERE.