12.14.11

Committee Approves All-Hazards Preparedness and Response Bill Cosponsored by Sen. Enzi

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee today passed S. 1855, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) Reauthorization of 2011, cosponsored by Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).  The bill, sponsored by Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), will help ensure that our nation is prepared for and able to respond to a wide range of medical and public health emergencies, including chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear events.  Last week, the House of Representatives passed its version of PAHPA reauthorization (H.R. 2405), which was sponsored by Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).

“We have made remarkable progress in strengthening our nation’s medical and public health preparedness and response in recent years, but more needs to be done,” said Senator Enzi.  “Aspects of our medical and public health preparedness and response capabilities have been tested by the occurrence of real public health emergencies in the past years, including the H1N1 pandemic.  The provisions in this bill incorporate the lessons learned and make targeted improvements to shore up our preparedness activities and advance our response capacities.  The bill will improve coordination and accountability to ensure that federal, state, and local entities are working together, while clearly articulating roles and responsibilities.”

Senator Enzi noted that this legislation builds upon the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006 by making targeted improvements and enhancements to our medical and public health preparedness and response capabilities to ensure we are able to recognize and respond to threats quickly and effectively.  It optimizes state, local, and hospital all-hazards preparedness and response efforts, enhances medical countermeasure activities, and reauthorizes critical medical and public health programs.  Specifically, the bill optimizes medical countermeasures research, development, and procurement for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats and reauthorizes the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and BioShield.  The bill ensures accountability throughout medical and public health preparedness and response programs, including requiring a biennial Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise Strategy and Implementation Plan.

Cosponsors of the PAHPA reauthorization include HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

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Joe Brenckle