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Public Statements

Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I am pleased to rise in support of the Senate amendment to H.R. 307, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013. And I want to recognize the work that Ms. Eshoo, my colleague on the committee, has been doing on this legislation for many years.

The legislation reauthorizes critical programs and activities first established as part of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, the 2004 Project Bioshield Act, and the 2006 Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act.

H.R. 307 passed the Senate in late February with an amendment that makes some changes to the House version passed in January. The new language updates the authorization period of programs to the fiscal years 2014-2018 instead of the fiscal years 2013-2017. It also modifies the authority for a State, territory or tribal organization to temporarily reassign public health personnel to respond to a public health emergency. In addition, there were some minor technical corrections to the House-passed legislation.

Over the past decade, Mr. Speaker, these programs have represented comprehensive efforts to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. As a result of the investments that followed, our Nation is better equipped to respond to public health emergencies, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Our Nation continues to face threats that require an ongoing commitment to public health and emergency preparedness. Of course, I am thinking of my district and the State of New Jersey after we experienced a devastating storm that destroyed entire communities. The Federal Government's support, including programs authorized by PAHPA, were critical in the wake of this disaster.

So I am pleased that Congress is finally able to get this legislation across the finish line. It reflects a bipartisan, bicameral effort that has been ongoing for more than a year--start to finish--and Members and staff have worked hard to see it through. Together, we have resolved differences and have made compromises, which is the way legislating is supposed to be done; and I was proud to be part of the process.

I would like to thank many members of the Energy and Commerce Committee who contributed to this important bill: of course Ms. Eshoo, who will speak; Congressmen Mike Rogers and Gene Green; Chairman Upton; Chairman Pitts; Ranking Member Waxman; Congressman Markey; and all of their staffs. Everyone should be commended for their work.

I urge Members to join me in supporting the passage of the Senate amendment to H.R. 307, and I look forward to finally getting this bill to the President's desk.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I have no additional speakers, and I would just say at this point that I urge passage of this legislation. It is very important in terms of our ongoing commitment to public health and emergency preparedness; and, of course, once it passes today, it will go to the President for his signature, and so I urge passage.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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