05.29.18

Senator Murray Praises Bipartisan Work as HELP Moves Forward Vital Public Health Preparedness Bill

Senator Murray praised bipartisan work to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, highlighting the contributions of colleagues and new steps in the bill

 

Murray:The recent resurgence of Ebola in the Congo should serve as a stark reminder that the threats we are working to address in this bill aren’t hypothetical. They are real, and present, and deserving of serious attention…”

 

Murray highlighted bipartisan commitment to funding critical research and development regarding threats like anti-microbial resistance and pandemic flu

 

Murray strengthened language to ensure the unique needs of all families are considered in preparedness and response efforts, regardless of age, disability, or health

 

Bill adds provision increasing accountability for management of the Strategic National Stockpile in light of Trump Administration’s decision to transfer authority over critical resource

 

Murray also urged colleagues to continue efforts to address the country’s high maternal mortality rate

  

(Washington, D.C.) – Last week, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered opening remarks at the Committee’s executive session to mark up legislation reauthorizing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which ensures our country is prepared to keep families safe and healthy before, during, and after public health emergencies. At the hearing the Committee voted to move forward the bill with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle.

 

In her remarks, Senator Murray praised the bipartisan work to move this critical bill forward and improve emergency preparedness. Senator Murray also emphasized the importance of lessons learned from recent public health threats and recognized the important new steps the bill includes to help keep all families safe regardless of their unique needs. She also called on her colleagues to continue working together to move legislation to address the country’s high maternal mortality rate. 

 

Key excerpts of Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“I’m glad we are able to move forward this important bill to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act. The recent resurgence of Ebola in the Congo should serve as a stark reminder that the threats we are working to address in this bill aren’t hypothetical. They are real, and present, and deserving of serious attention, and that is why it’s so important Congress continue to lead on this issue.”

 

“I’m glad we were able to work across the aisle to increase the authorization for funding for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in order to support work on these issues. This is a clear sign that Democrats and Republicans agree pandemic flu and antimicrobial resistance are serious threats that must be addressed as part of our public health preparedness efforts.”

 

“I’m also glad we were able to strengthen language to help make sure the unique needs of all families are considered in our preparedness and response efforts so we can better plan to keep everyone safe and healthy—whatever their age, disability status, or health circumstances.”

 

“And while I’m concerned by President Trump’s recent proposal to transfer the management of the Strategic National Stockpile, I’m glad we were able to take steps in this bill to add provisions ensuring accountability for this critical national resource—no matter what happens.”

 

“This bill doesn’t just continue our strong bipartisan commitment to protecting our families—it builds on that commitment with new and meaningful steps. I’m proud to vote to move it forward today and will continue to work with my colleagues to address other meaningful issues—like making sure we have authorities in place that help us hire and retain disease detectives—and to see it passed into law.”

 

“As this bill moves forward, I hope we can follow it soon with other important bills. In particular, I look forward to continuing our bipartisan efforts to address maternal mortality. Our country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, and it’s even higher for women of color. That is unthinkable, and inaction here is absolutely unacceptable.”

 

Full text below of Sen. Murray’s remarks:

 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.

 

“I’m glad we are able to move forward this important bill to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act. The recent resurgence of Ebola in the Congo should serve as a stark reminder that the threats we are working to address in this bill aren’t hypothetical. They are real, and present, and deserving of serious attention, and that is why it’s so important Congress continue to lead on this issue.

 

“I want to thank Chairman Alexander, everyone on this committee, and several members outside of the committee who helped work on a strong reauthorization, informed by the lessons learned from the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the recent hurricanes, and other public health threats.

 

“I particularly want to thank Senator Burr and Senator Casey for their hard work and leadership throughout this effort. Working together with so many others, they managed to bring a lot of important ideas into this bill, like Senator Baldwin’s efforts to make sure we continue our critical work to address pandemic flu—and Senator Jones’ efforts to keep us focused on anti-microbial resistance and the threat of a world where our current medicines are fundamentally ineffective and diseases which were once easily treatable are easily terminal. Thank you both.

 

“I’m glad we were able to work across the aisle to increase the authorization for funding for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority in order to support work on these issue. This is a clear sign that Democrats and Republicans agree pandemic flu and antimicrobial resistance are serious threats that must be addressed as part of our public health preparedness efforts, and I know when it comes to pandemic flu, this is an issue Senator Baldwin is going to continue to be very focused on, and I look forward to those continued conversations.

 

“I also want to recognize Senator Smith for her work to include new language introducing a ‘one health perspective’ in this reauthorization bill—an important frame for considering health threats and the intersections between human health, animal health, and the environment.

 

“Senator Hassan, thank you for your efforts to ensure we are accounting for individuals with behavioral health needs in the wake of public health emergencies.

 

“There are many members not on this Committee who made critical contributions to this important bill as well.

 

“I’m also glad we were able to strengthen language to help make sure the unique needs of all families are considered in our preparedness and response efforts so we can better plan to keep everyone safe and healthy— whatever their age, disability status, or health circumstances.

 

“And while I’m concerned by President Trump’s recent proposal to transfer the management of the Strategic National Stockpile, I’m glad we were able to take steps in this bill to add provisions ensuring accountability for this critical national resource—no matter what happens.

 

“This bill doesn’t just continue our strong bipartisan commitment to protecting our families—it builds on that commitment with new and meaningful steps. I’m proud to vote to move it forward today and will continue to work with my colleagues to address other meaningful issues—like making sure we have authorities in place that help us hire and retain disease detectives—and to see it passed into law.

 

“As this bill moves forward, I hope we can follow it soon with other important bills. In particular, I look forward to continuing our bipartisan efforts to address maternal mortality. Our country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, and it’s even higher for women of color. That is unthinkable, and inaction here is absolutely unacceptable, so I’m disappointed we aren’t able to move forward Senator Heitkamp and Senator Capito’s bill on this today. Our families urgently need action to address the high maternal mortality rate, and I hope both sides will take this issue seriously as we continue our work—this should not be a partisan issue.

 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman for working across the aisle on the bill before us today, and on other legislation to address national issues, like the opioid response package we passed out of committee last month.

 

“I believe by continuing in the bipartisan spirit that has been so successful so far, we will continue finding the kind of commonsense solutions families across the country are asking for.

 

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