Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) along with Senators Harkin, Enzi, Casey, and Alexander introduced the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013, a bipartisan effort to ensure that our nation is prepared to respond to a wide range of medical and public health emergencies, whether naturally occurring or the result of a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack.
As a result of the passage of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) of 2006, the federal government, in partnership with state and local governments, took significant steps to strengthen our nation's medical and public health preparedness and response capabilities. Despite improvements in preparedness in recent years, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and other emergencies at home and abroad underscore the need to maximize America's resilience to the full range of threats. Based on the lessons learned since enactment of PAHPA in 2006, this reauthorization makes targeted enhancements to existing preparedness and response programs and authorities.
"The threats facing our nation are serious and we must address them accordingly. The American people expect us to do all that we can to prevent an attack and, if one should occur, be fully prepared to respond, including having safe and effective medical countermeasures readily available. While key progress has been made since PAHPA was signed into law, more work remains to be done," Senator Burr said. "This legislation redoubles our efforts to protect the American people by strengthening our existing programs and making targeted improvements in areas in which we know we must do better, including ensuring that our nation's medical countermeasure enterprise reflects and is prepared to respond to modern-day threats."
This reauthorization strengthens our nation's preparedness for and ability to respond to medical and public health emergencies, optimizes state and local all-hazards preparedness and response efforts and collaboration, enhances medical countermeasure activities, and reauthorizes key medical and public health programs, including the BioShield Special Reserve Fund.
Senators Mikulski (D-MD), Isakson (R-GA), Roberts (R-KS), and Chambliss (R-GA) are original cosponsors of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013.