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MEDIA ADVISORY: HELP Committee to Hold Hearing on Reauthorizing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act and Preparing for the Next Public Health Emergency

Committee to hear testimony from experts including CDC Director, FDA Commissioner, and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS

WASHINGTON, May 2 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, today announced the committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, May 4 at 1:00 p.m. ET to consider the reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA). Joining the hearing to give testimony is CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS Dawn O’Connell, as well as Reshma Ramachandran, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, Martin Makary, Professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen.

First passed in 2006, the PAHPA is set to expire at the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

“We live in a time of unprecedented crises,” said Chairman Sanders. “In the past few years alone, we faced an unimaginable global pandemic that took millions of innocent lives, threatened economic meltdown, and pushed deeply systemic issues to a breaking point for the most vulnerable and underserved among us – all with the disastrous effects of climate change growing more urgent and severe every day. If we have learned anything from this terrible pandemic it is that we must do everything in our power to better prepare for future public health emergencies so we can keep our communities safe. With the reauthorization of this essential legislation, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to do just that.”

In March, Chairman Sanders joined with Ranking Member Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in a bipartisan request for input from public health officials, health care providers, and other stakeholders on policies the committee should consider, improve upon, and address during this reauthorization of the PAHPA.

Hearing Details
What: Hearing to Consider “Preparing for the Next Public Health Emergency: Reauthorizing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act”
When: 1:00 p.m. ET, Thursday, May 4, 2023
Where: 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building. The hearing will also be livestreamed on the HELP Committee’s website and Sanders’ social media pages.

Panel I
Dawn O'Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC

Rochelle Walensky, M.D., MPH, Director, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Robert Califf, M.D., Commissioner, United States Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD

Panel II
Reshma Ramachandran, M.D., MPP, MHS, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen, Washington, DC

Martin Makary, M.D., MPH, Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD