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Public Statements

Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5997, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, and yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, although I support H.R. 5997, it is not without reservation and concern about the reduced funding this Congress has allocated to important Homeland Security Grant Programs over the past few years. Due to significantly diminished appropriations for the Homeland Security Grant Program, important targeted grant programs such as the Metropolitan Medical Response System were consolidated into larger umbrella grant programs, such as the Urban Area Security Initiative and the State Homeland Security Grant Program in FY 2012.

I'm concerned that Congress' failure to specify a funding allocation for the Metropolitan Medical Response System sends the message that medical preparedness is no longer a priority.

H.R. 5997 authorizes the use of funding awarded under the Urban Area Security Initiative and the State Homeland Security Grant Program to enhance medical preparedness, medical surge capacity, and mass distribution of medical countermeasures. All of these activities would have been eligible under H.R. 1411, the Metropolitan Medical Response Systems Program Act of 2011.

H.R. 1411, which would have authorized the Metropolitan Medical Response System, was introduced by Representative Bilirakis and was marked up by the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications last year. I would rather be standing here today in support of H.R. 1411, which would send a clear message that medical preparedness is a priority for this Congress.

That said, I will support H.R. 5997 because I understand that grant resources are limited and that State and local governments must have the flexibility to utilize the scarce resources available to improve medical preparedness.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, despite my reservations regarding this measure, I encourage my colleagues to support H.R. 5997, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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