Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2013 passed the Senate with bipartisan support. Senator Casey introduced the Senate bill with Senators Burr, Harkin, Enzi, and Alexander. The legislation is an 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. The Senate amended the House's version of the bill, which must go back to the House before being sent to the President.
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.
"With a range of public health emergencies over the past five years --the outbreak of the H1N1 pandemic flu, the Fukashima disaster, and an array of natural disasters, our public health system has proven more capable than it was a decade ago, however, these disasters have also taught us that we must do more to improve our public health system," said Senator Casey. "The strategies and requirements in this bill are based off of lessons learned and are the crucial next step that must be taken to advance the security of Pennsylvanians and Americans. I hope the House will move swiftly to finalize the Pandemic All Hazards Preparedness Act so that we can send this important legislation to the President for his signature."
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. Additional information regarding this bill can be found here.
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.